A sign at Danbury City Hall points people in the right direction to register on Election Day. Jenna Carlesso / CT Mirror

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an order Friday postponing Connecticut’s increasingly irrelevant presidential primary until August 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.

August 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.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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