Cuomo called on to simplify Queens borough president special election to avoid ‘voter confusion’

Queens vote

The city’s Campaign Finance Board has joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in recommending that the winner of the June 23 special election for Queens borough president serve through the end of the term in 2021 as opposed to the end of 2020.

The special election’s original date of March 24 was canceled by the mayor due to the COVID-19 outbreak and last month Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order rescheduling the special election on the same day that a primary election for the office is also to be held, followed by the general election in November.

The June 23 special election will coincide with statewide and Congressional primaries, as per the governor’s executive order. It’s also the scheduled date of the Democratic presidential primary, but as former Vice President Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee, that particular contest may not be held.

The mayor believes there could be mass confusion at a time when many, if not all, New Yorkers may vote by absentee ballot for the first time. He called on the governor to spare the voters in Queens from the confusing task of voting twice for the same position on the same day.

“The mayor has recommended to Governor Cuomo that the Queens borough president election proceeds as a special election only and that the winner serves through the end of the term,” de Blasio spokesman Jose Bayona said. “To hold both a special and primary election on the same day for the same office would cause voter confusion.”

The change would also relieve some pressure on the Board of Elections, which is facing historic staffing and timeline challenges. Governor Andrew Cuomo would be required to cancel the primary for the seat. 

“A single special election will give voters a direct say,” Campaign Finance Board Executive Director Amy Loprest said Tuesday, “while also protecting the health of everyone involved — the voters, the candidates, and all the poll workers.”

QNS reached out to the governor’s office and is awaiting a response. Voters will choose between Councilman Donovan Richards and Costa Constantinides, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, former Queens prosecutor Jim Quinn, former NYPD sergeant Anthony Miranda, and businessman Dao Yin.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will also appear on the ballot even though he dropped out of the race in January.

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