Governor signs Queens senator’s bill setting New York state’s presidential primary election in 2020

vote election badge button for 2020 background, vote USA 2020, 3D illustration, 3D rendering
Photo via Getty Images

New York state residents will vote in the presidential primary election on April 28, 2020, based on legislation by state Senator Michael Gianaris that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Sept. 15.

“It is important for New York to maximize its influence in the presidential nominating process and this bill does just that,” Gianaris said. “The selected date will increase our state’s allotment of delegates based on party rules.”

The date will entitle New York Democrats to an additional delegate bonus of 25 percent at their nominating convention for a total of 327 delegates. While Cuomo signed Gianaris’ bill, he urged lawmakers to take up a bill consolidating the state, local and congressional primaries with the presidential primary when they return to legislative session in January.

“Although I believe that New Yorkers would be better served, and more empowered, by a presidential primary occurring earlier in the year, I recognize that certain national political realities prevent the state Legislature from passing legislation to accomplish that goal,” Cuomo said in his signing statement. “Therefore, in light of the state’s interest in an orderly election administration process, and out of concern for the uncertainty that would likely ensue if I were to veto this bill, I am signing this bill.”

In recent weeks, Cuomo pushed to consolidate the presidential, congressional and state primaries on the same day in February, but progressives complained it was a ploy to embolden establishment incumbent candidates in the Senate and Assembly in their primaries.

Cuomo maintained that holding two primary elections, nearly eight weeks apart, would reduce voter participation and cost taxpayers an additional $20 million.

“In addition, managing two separate elections will also burden an already troubled Board of Elections system,” Cuomo said. “The state of New York is stronger when all New Yorkers participate in its democratic system, and a consolidation of all primaries is the only way to achieve that.”

Cuomo added that 15 other states have a single combined primary for presidential, federal and state races.

“It is time for New York to do the same. Sadly, New York has at times lagged behind the rest of the nation in terms of voting law and voter accessibility,” Cuomo said. “New Yorkers deserve a government that makes voting easier, not harder, and government should spend less of the taxpayer’s money to accomplish that goal, not more.”

Cuomo had considered vetoing the bill and moving the primary up to February after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary but decided it was “not a viable date politically” after learning New York would lose delegates to the Democratic National Convention as a penalty.