On Monday, New York State’s presidential electors will gather at the state Capitol in Albany to officially cast votes for Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States. The list of 29 electors certified by the New York State Board of Elections includes a who’s who of the state Democrats, including statewide elected officials, labor leaders, party loyalists and mayors of major cities. 

Notably absent from the list is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

While the event is largely ceremonial, a sort-of politico-prom traditionally with a luncheon and the formal signing and casting of electoral ballots which are then sent to Congress, the event will be scaled back this year as the COVID-19 pandemic surges across the state. Still, being invited to convene there is a sign of power, prestige, and respect conferred by the leaders of the state party. And being left out could be seen as the opposite.

The list of electors was approved by the members of the New York State Democratic Committee at a meeting in September, but the nominations are made by Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, who said leaving de Blasio off the list was a deliberate decision.

“Frankly, none of us in the state party felt that, given that he had run for the office of president against Joe Biden, it just might not be wise,” Jacobs told Gothamist / WNYC. It’s not that he thought de Blasio wouldn’t vote for Biden, he said, “It just would be putting him in an unusual position, having to vote in an electoral college, for somebody that he had run in opposition to.”

Listen to Brigid Bergin's report on WNYC:

Jacobs, who will be serving as elector for the first time himself this year, said they were striving for diversity among those chosen, across race, gender, and geography. 

The in-person meeting is mandated by the state constitution. When electors arrive at the Capitol, they will each be sequestered in their own room where they will be given a COVID test before they are able to vote. 

The two biggest names on the list are Bill and Hillary Clinton, who are expected to make the trip from their home in Chappaqua to Albany for Monday’s proceeding. Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and State Attorney General Letitia James will all be electors, along with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Mayors Byron Brown, Lovely Warren, and Kathy Sheehan of, respectively, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany.

The list also includes activists and advocates like Hazel Dukes, president of the New York State Chapter of the NAACP; Alphonso David, a former Cuomo administration official who is now head of the Human Rights Campaign; and Anastasia Somoza, who has been working on disability rights issues since she was 9 years old. 

“It’s an honor to be able to participate in the political process like this, so I am extremely excited to be able to return to Albany on Monday,” said Somoza. This is the second time the 36-year-old has served as a presidential elector. She was also there in 2016.

For some first-timers, the event is a bright-spot in an ongoing dark season. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he wished the meeting wasn’t happening amidst a global pandemic but, “To be able to turn the page on Donald Trump, to be able to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first female vice president, is a huge honor and incredibly exciting. I'm thrilled,” he said. 

Although Johnson said the Electoral College should eventually be abolished, but being made an elector now, “It's sort of a pantheon of political-nerd insider-junkiness that exists.”

New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the current executive committee director for the State Democratic party will all serve as electors. 

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio downplayed the fact that he will not participate this year.

“With all the work in front of the Mayor, this has not been a topic of discussion, frankly, or something he’s striving for,” Bill Neidhardt, de Blasio’s press secretary said in a statement. “The mayor has been an elector before, would cast the same vote as others, and it’s good to see more folks get a chance to be involved at this level,” he added.

The full list of presidential electors is below:

William J. Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Andrew M. Cuomo, Kathy C. Hochul, Thomas P. DiNapoli, Letitia A. James, Jay S. Jacobs, Carl E. Heastie, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Scott Stringer, Corey Johnson, Byron W. Brown (Mayor of Buffalo), Christine C. Quinn (Executive Committee Chair, NYS Democratic Committee), Hazel Dukes (President, New York State NAACP), Alphonso David (Human Rights Campaign), Mario F. Cilento (AFL-CIO President), Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten (AFT President), George K Gresham (1199 SEIU President), Mary Sullivan (CSEA President), Stuart H. Appelbaum (RWDSA President), Gary LaBarbera (Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York), Lovely A. Warren (Mayor of Rochester), Thomas J. Garry (Vice Chair of Nassau Democratic Committee), Katherine M. Sheehan, Anastasia M. Somoza (Disability Rights Advocate), June O’Neill (Former NYS Dem Chair), Ruben Diaz Jr., Xiao Wang (Mother of Alexander Wang, NYS Democratic Committee Executive Director), Judith Hunter (Chair of the Democratic Rural Conference of NYS)