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Biden wins NY Democratic presidential primary

Jon Campbell New York State Team
USA TODAY Network

ALBANY — Former Vice President Joe Biden easily won the New York Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, defeating 10 other candidates that have ended their campaigns but remained on the state's ballot.

The Associated Press called the race for Biden nine minutes after polls closed at 9 p.m.

Biden's victory was hardly a surprise given he has already locked up the Democratic nomination and is set to challenge President Donald Trump in November.

But the vote brought an end to a months-long battle over the fate of New York's primary, which was originally scheduled for April 28 before Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed it at the height of the state's coronavirus outbreak.

In late April, New York's Democratic elections commissioners tried to cancel their party's presidential primary altogether, taking advantage of a new state law that allowed them to remove candidates from the ballot if they have publicly suspended their campaigns.

That angered the Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang campaigns, who were hoping to pick up a share of New York's delegates to have greater influence over the party's platform, which will be set at the Democratic National Convention later this year.

Federal courts ordered New York to reinstate the primary after Yang sued with support from the Sanders campaign, ruling the decision to cancel the election infringed on the candidates' constitutional rights.

There were 274 pledged delegates up for grabs in Tuesday's election, with a candidate needing to pick up 15% of the vote statewide or in a congressional district in order to receive a share.

It could take weeks to sort out which candidates won how many delegates.

To cut down on people going to the polls amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo allowed all eligible New York voters to vote by absentee ballot.

Local election boards across the state reported receiving more than 1.7 million applications for absentee ballots, more than 10 times the number received during the 2016 presidential primaries, according to the state Board of Elections.

Not all of those ballots are Democratic ballots; There were some key Republican primaries across the state, including in the 27th congressional district between Buffalo and Rochester.

The local boards can't begin to count the absentees until July 1. The ballots had to be postmarked by Tuesday and received by June 30 in order to count.

Along with Biden, Yang and Sanders, the other candidates on the New York Democratic presidential primary ballot were Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer and Deval Patrick. 

New York's Republican presidential primary was canceled earlier this year after Trump was the lone candidate to qualify for the ballot.