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Democratic presidential primary set for Tuesday

New York’s rescheduled, off-again and on-again Democratic presidential primary will finally take place on Tuesday.

Although former Vice President Joe Biden has secured the delegates to become the nominee, Democrats in New York state will have 11 presidential candidates from which to choose.

Also on the ballot are former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; businessman Tom Steyer; Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet; Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren; businessman Andrew Yang; and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. All of them have dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden.

These candidates are all still on the ballot because the deadline to be removed was Feb. 10, according to Beth McLaughlin, Democratic elections commissioner for the Warren County Board of Elections.

New York’s Democratic presidential primary was originally scheduled for April 28, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved it to June 23.

The state Board of Elections in April decided to cancel it completely because of the virus and the fact that other candidates had suspended their campaigns. Yang filed a lawsuit and a judge ordered that it be held.

McLaughlin said she is not expecting a large turnout. As of Friday, only 77 people had cast ballots in early voting, which said is a barometer of interest for Tuesday’s primary.

“We expect it to be a fairly quiet day,” she said.

However, there has been an increase in the number of absentee ballots received. Under the governor’s executive order, the local boards of election had to mail absentee ballot applications to every eligible voter.

Signs point to a light turnout. In 2012, only 6.7% registered Republicans cast ballots, according to New York State Board of Elections statistics. Mitt Romney essentially had wrapped up the nomination by that point. There was no Democratic primary as President Barack Obama was seeking re-election.

By contrast, turnout was high in 2016 and 2008 when there was competitive contests in both parties.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders was still in the race against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was facing Sen. Ted Cruz and then-Gov. John Kasich in the Republican contest. About 33% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans cast ballots, according to election data.

In 2008, New York moved the primary to February. Turnout was heavy as Hillary Clinton was battling then-Sen. Barack Obama for the nomination. About 35% of registered Democrats cast votes. About 22% of Republicans cast ballots in the race featuring Romney and Sen. John McCain.

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