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Lamont postpones presidential primary until Aug. 11

The 2020 election is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an order Friday postponing Connecticut’s increasingly irrelevant presidential primary until Aug. 11, a decision that could cost Democrats seats at the national convention as it lays outside the acceptable time frame set by the Democratic National Committee.

“Whatever penalty that might involve is less onerous than the idea of having two different primaries,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said.

Aug. 11 is the date this year for primaries to resolve nominations for state or congressional offices. The presidential primary, originally scheduled for April 28, was postponed once already until June 2 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald J. Trump, who never had serious opposition, already has won sufficient delegates to be nominated to a second term at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee once Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign, but Biden does not yet have the required delegate support. Sanders has endorsed Biden, but is keeping his name on the ballot in the remaining primaries.

By staying on the ballot, Sanders was giving his supporters a chance to win delegate slots at the convention in Milwaukee. But Democrats are considering nominating Biden via a virtual convention to limit exposure to COVID-19.

Biden, Sanders and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii currently have places on the Democratic ballot in Connecticut.  Trump and Rocky De La Fuente, a perennial candidate, are on the GOP ballot.

Quitting the race or suspending a campaign does not allow Merrill to strike their names from the ballot. Under current law, they must withdraw in writing, and Gabbard and De La Fuente have reiterated their intention to stay on the ballot in letters to Merrill.

2 comments

Stuart Wells April 18, 2020 at 8:42 am

If you think its a good idea to have a Presidential Primary just to keep Bernie Sanders name in (or Tulsi Gabbard’s, or Rocky de la Fuente’s), consider this:
In the age of COVID-19, poll workers will be risking their lives to work in any election. Voters can check in, get a ballot, vote it and leave in about 10 minutes. With protective gear – mask, gloves, and hand washing, plus 6 foot distancing – their risk is small. Poll workers work a 14 hour day, so their risk will be greater. They will have gloves and masks and clean surfaces all day long, but better equipment, like N95 masks, would certainly help. We will try to get them, and maybe by August they will be available.
How is it moral for me to even ask them to take this risk for a now meaningless primary?
So if you want the city (and the rest of the state) to hold a meaningless primary election please feel free to contact us and agree to work the (Democratic and Republican) primaries. Our email address and phone numbers are on the city website at http://WWW.Norwalkct.vote. You, too, can wear a mask for 14+ hours and clean all day — we even pay our poll workers.
Stuart Wells, Registrar

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