ALBANY — Some things cannot be done remotely, even in the age of COVID-19.
New York’s 29-member electoral delegation will likely be casting their votes in person next week to formally elect the next president of the United States.
The Electoral College’s delegates are due to meet and cast votes for President-elect Joe Biden Monday, Dec. 14 inside the State Capitol Building in Albany.
“We have our own practical problem here on the Electoral College in that the by law, the Electors must convene in the State Capitol. It doesn’t say, ‘except if you have a global pandemic,’” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a WAMC radio interview Tuesday afternoon, noting that convening virtually is probably out of the question due to a provision in the state Constitution.
The list of representatives includes former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, state Attorney Letitia James, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, among others.
Cuomo added: “We’re actually going to have to convene people in the Capitol in the midst of this situation. It’s not a large group, but you can’t do it virtually or we don’t believe, legally, you can do it virtually.”
But the governor also hinted a remote vote could potentially face a legal challenge from the Trump administration, which has filed a number of legal actions in the wake of the presidential election.
“If we did do it virtually there could be a challenge and apropos your point, I don’t want to give anyone an opportunity to legally challenge the actions of the Electors. There is a theoretical challenge if we convened electorally. They’re going to have to come assemble in the Capitol,” Cuomo added.
Over the last several months the building has been closed to the public in effort to reduce unnecessary gatherings and further virus spread.
The Legislature also was forced to alter their own rules, and began meeting remotely in the late spring.