New York Should Encourage All Voters to Vote by Mail


Credit: Colin Ives

On the application for an Absentee Ballot in Westchester, you must specify the reason for wanted one. In the case of the Corona Virus, the proper choice would be temporary illness because there is no option for voting by mail out of caution.

On April 27, New York election officials made a historic decision to cancel the state’s Democratic Presidential Primary due to the heightened health risk caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has been sweeping the globe, and the fact that only one candidate, Joe Biden, remains in the race. This decision caused a massive uproar throughout the state of New York, including a lawsuit, coming from former candidate Andrew Yang. Another former candidate, who ran in 2020 and 2016, Bernie Sanders, also spoke out against the State of New York on the issue.

Sanders’ campaign advisor, Jeff Weaver, came out with a statement criticizing the decision, saying, “The decision by the State of New York Board of Elections is an outrage, a blow to American democracy, and must be overturned by the (Democratic National Committee),… Just last week Vice President Biden warned the American people that President Trump could use the current crisis as an excuse to postpone the November election. Well, he now has a precedent thanks to New York state.”

Originally, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who has been leading the charge on the pandemic, decided to change the date of the primary, moving it from April 28th to June 23rd. He also ordered a postage-paid mail-in ballot for every voter in the state, which was a way to give a voice to all voters while also keeping them safe. Cuomo was not directly involved in the decision to cancel the presidential primary; however, that was left up to the election officials. 

With mounting pressure from Sanders and his progressive supporters and a lawsuit against the state from Yang, a federal judge ruled to reestablish the primary, holding that the state took away the chance for many candidates, who dropped out but are still on the ballot, to receive delegates and have a chance to get their voices, and those of their supporters, heard, even if they will not be the candidate in the General Election. 

The Editorial Board agrees with the judge’s ruling to reinstate the primary, but we urge the State of New York to require residents to vote by mail-in vote only. This will eliminate the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 while trying to carry out one’s civic duty of voting. With New York being the current world epicenter of the coronavirus, holding in-person voting would be not only unsafe, but it would be a disservice to voters who are trying to participate and get their views recognized. Therefore, New York State should not cancel the primary but instead hold all mail-in voting to preserve voters’ health and constitutional rights.