New York's June 23rd Presidential Primary: COVID-19 Voter Safety, Absentee Voting & Effecting Change


As-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah (God) Be Upon You

Al-hamdulillah (All Praise Be To Allah ), for His Mercy as we all continue to live day-to-day in a global pandemic of the novel coronavirus aka COVID-19. We are grateful for His Protection as we strive daily to be safe and to prevent the spread of the virus to save lives. Coronavirus remains a deadly virus while New York City appears to have passed through the worst of it and is slowly re-opening as have other parts of the state and other states in the US. Virus infections based upon testing have decreased, hospitalizations have decreased and we need to stay on the path of eliminating the virus in our communities of color that have been more greatly impacted than some others. We MUST acknowledge our current state, just as we acknowledge that we must carry on with or civic duty and responsibility to vote and complete the census in 2020. These two acts also have the potential to save lives.

If you are confused about this year's special and upcoming Presidential Primary elections in New York State, you are not alone. All was fine with a March 24th special election for a new Queens Borough President since Melinda Katz vacated the office early to become Queens District Attorney in January. Then, we were officially informed of the arrival of the coronavirus in the US, its first major impact occurring in New York State. In a preemptive move, Governor Andrew Cuomo emerged as a level-headed leader and adviser about COVID-19 starting on March 7th placing New York State on an emergency and disaster alert. On March 22nd, Governor Cuomo placed all of New York State on PAUSE due to COVID-19. Queens' special election had already been cancelled a week earlier by Mayor de Blasio.

When the leader of the developed and so-called free-world residing at what could now be called 1600 Black Lives Matter Plaza that leads up to the US Capitol and White House (both built by slaves), defaulted to delivering daily COVID-19/Center for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates that should have been focused on COVID-19 but became more about his political campaign-- Governor Cuomo brought sanity to most of the country and especially New Yorkers as death visited the Black and Latino populations predominantly living in New York City with a vengeance. Thank Allah (God) those nightly Trump interrupt-us short on medical guidance but long on Trump side-eyeing sycophant mic-sharing personnel selectively chosen points of view-- ceased after the hydroxychloroquine, bleach and insertion of light into the human body cures proposed by Trump resulted in a self-imposed banishment from all of the networks. Critical information to prevent the spread of the virus was provided weeks, if not months late by the White House. In April, COVID-19 would bring death by the hundreds and then the thousands to New York City; followed by the tens of thousands to the whole of the US.

On April 9th, an executive order from Cuomo suspended a portion of state election law and modified it " to provide consideration due to the prevalence and community spread of COVID-19, an absentee ballot can be granted based on temporary illness and shall include the potential for contraction of the COVID-19 virus for any election held on or before June 23, 2020." On April 24, Governor Cuomo cancelled the Special Election for Queens Borough President that had been rescheduled to be held on June 23rd in the Presidential Primary.

On April 27, Democratic commissioners of the state Board of Elections canceled the 2020 New York State Presidential Primary that was scheduled for June 23rd. On May 5th, the Presidential Primary was reinstated by U.S. District Court for New York's Southern District Court Judge Analisa Torres. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's decision on May 19.

Subsequently, per Governor Cuomo, Election Law "is (was) temporarily suspended and hereby modified to provide that due to the prevalence and community spread of COVID-19, an absentee ballot can be granted based on temporary illness and shall include the potential for contraction of the COVID-19 virus for any election held on or before June 23, 2020." This executive order is intended to ease the voting application process since some of the state was still operating on PAUSE. Previously, a voter needed to call, email, or mail a request to their respective local Board of Elections office asking for an absentee ballot to be sent to them with the expectation that they would not be in town or some other reason to qualify for it. Due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and threat to public safety and health that remains, eligible voters i.e., registered as Democrats for a Democratic party primary are being allowed to vote via absentee ballot. Governor Cuomo said that absentee ballots would be sent to all New Yorkers for the Primary. We can all vote by mail this primary season due to the threat that remains of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This year, COVID-19 is the qualifying reason we can all vote absentee if desired.

The election has since been a full-out campaign race between five (5) candidates for Queens Borough President: Councilman Donovan Richards, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, retired NYPD officer Anthony Miranda, Costa Constantinides and Dao Yin. Also appearing on the ballot will be candidates for: Congressional and Senatorial races, the election of District Leaders, State Committee persons (male and female); Delegates to the National Convention, Delegates to the Judicial Convention and Judges to the Civil (County) Court. You can meet and get to know more about the local candidates here.

Let's not forget that it is a Presidential Primary. All of the presidential candidates who were candidates, albeit there is only one candidate on the ballot presently, will be listed on the ballot.

Voters can still go and physically vote starting with early voting occurring June 13-21. There are 79 locations throughout the five (5) boroughs, eighteen (18) of which are in Queens. To find Early Voting locations please click here. In-person voting will still take place with strict social distancing guidelines for polling sites, while voters are being encouraged to instead vote through absentee ballots. If you have vulnerabilities that may jeopardize your health significantly were you to become exposed and catch the coronavirus, please be easy on yourself and use absentee voting this election. The virus is still live and active. New York City commenced Phase 1 of re-opening after a pause of almost three months on June 8th. Even in the midst of huge protests related to the murder of George Floyd, the coronavirus is still infectious and potentially deadly.

While applications for the absentee ballot were to have been mailed to you, if you have not received it by now you can request an absentee ballot no later than June 16th. A request for an absentee ballot must be postmarked by June 16. You can submit your request to the New York City Board of Elections new website here. From information in the media, there has been a surge in absentee voter applications so do not hesitate to apply. If you have doubts about voting absentee, answers to your concerns can be found here is a loaded with FAQs article printed by the Gothamist on June 12th. The application is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, and Korean. Too few languages for a city as diverse as New York City so it is perfectly okay for someone to assist someone to complete an absentee ballot in some other language so long as it is the actual registered voter. Help make it happen for those about whom doing something new or for the first time can benefit from a little assistance by availing yourself to assist someone completing the absentee ballot application is this is how they choose to vote. Applications are also being accepted by email, fax and by phone by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692). And, if you change your mind about voting absentee, just show up and vote early between June 13-21st or go vote on election day, June 23rd. Take effective precautions by wearing a mask, gloves and maintain social distancing while there e.g., stay 6 feet distance from others. Instructions will be provided by BOE staff, yet know what to do.

The deadline for new voters to register for the June 23rd primary was Friday, May 29th. If you missed the deadline, please do not let that prevent your registering to vote in the general election-- expected to be the most critical election in this nation's history given the lack of leadership and difficulty the nation has faced for the last three years. Arguably, 2016 may have been the most important as the results of that election has unraveled the nation, upended and dismantled laws that were the result of decades of sacrifice and labor to develop the nation into the democracy it claims to be-- into the sheer mess and chaos, racism 2.0 and unlawfulness from the top down as it relates to effecting the US constitution, Bill of Rights and respecting the people for which it was founded: "by the people and for the people." You can obtain registration information from the Board of Elections here. You can also register through the Department of Motor Vehicles if you are in possession of a Driver's License on non-Driver's License Identification Card by clicking here.

The next president will potentially appoint one or two new members to the Supreme Court that already is advantaged by Trump having appointed two in the last two years resulting in a 5-4 conservative, if not ultra-conservative bench and hundreds of federal judges appointed to the appellate courts. The next President will have the REAL mess that Trump claims he inherited-- that he didn't (one of the 19,127 lies that have been recorded falling out of his mouth dating back to April 14, 2020) that Trump will leave behind once he is either removed before the election or voted out of office in November, God Willing. If you listen to Trump carefully, you will hear him projecting his own flaws in between the lies. November is just months away and voter registration is the obligation of all Americans eligible to vote.

Here is the Action Plan: Apply for the absentee ballot NOW (I did it at the online link below and it took less than 2 minutes). I received the Absentee Ballot application in the mail but I am not going to the post office-- this was SO MUCH EASIER! If you are reading this online, you can just click the online absentee ballot link below and fill out the form right now OR definitely before June 16th.

To Apply for a Ballot:

  • Apply Online - Click Here

  • Select reason "temporary illness or physical disability(including affected/potential COVID-19)"

  • Return application via Email to AbsenteeJune2020@boe.nyc

  • Return application via Fax to 212-487-5349

  • Mail application to local borough office (find mailing address here)

  • Call to request the absentee ballot by dialing 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692)

  • Changed your mind? Go VOTE during Early Voting (June 13-21) or on Election Day, June 23rd (but do NOT do both i.e., send in a ballot and vote in person

ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION DEADLINE: JUNE 16, 2020

Check your voter registration online here. Enter your address and party affiliation here to see your sample ballot. You can read the full list of all primaries on the June ballot in New York City here.

PLEASE Do Not let your vote be wasted. Be SURE to Vote your choice on June 23rd.

THERE IS POWER IN YOUR VOTE! USE IT OR LOSE IT! Read the history of it here.

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