A federal judge Tuesday ordered election officials in New York State to hold his Democratic primary election in June and to reinstate all of the qualified candidates on the ballot. The decision came after the presidential primary canceled at the end of last month on concerns about the coronavirus.
The order, filed by US District Court judge Analisa Torres, came in response to a lawsuit filed last week by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He sought to overturn the decision of the New York State Election Council in late April to cancel the competition, a decision he attributes to health and safety concerns and to the fact that the results would not change the result of the primary.
On Tuesday evening, Douglas A. Kellner, co-chair of the New York Elections Council, said the board “is reviewing the decision and preparing an appeal.”
Mr. Yang said a statement on Twitter that he was “pleased that a federal judge had agreed that depriving millions of New Yorkers of the right to vote was a mistake,” and he urged election officials to safeguard democracy.
And that has sown confusion around the state; although the statewide presidential primary was canceled, dozens of local elections were not, leaving some candidates and political agents nervous that voters could assume that the entire primary had been canceled.
Sanders campaign director Faiz Shakir said in a statement on Tuesday: “We are pleased that Justice Torres has restored basic democracy in New York. The citizens of each state should have the right to express their preference during the democratic primary in 2020. We are convinced that New York will be able to hold elections in June in a secure manner and will preserve the voting rights of New Yorkers. “
In his trial, Mr. Yang and a group of his delegates claimed that their rights were violated when their names were removed from the presidential primary poll and the primary was canceled. In his decision, the judge concluded that this was true and stated that Mr. Yang and other candidates whose names had been removed from the ballot had shown that they had caused “irreparable harm”.
Neither Mr. Yang nor Mr. Sanders “took official steps” to withdraw from the poll, the judge added. And even if she recognized that protecting the public from the spread of the virus was “an important state interest,” she wrote that “the court is not convinced that the cancellation of the presidential primary would advance this interest significantly – at least not insofar as justifying the heavy impact ‘on the complainants rights.
Even though he suspended his campaign, Mr. Sanders repeatedly argued for his supporters to vote for him, arguing that the more delegates he could muster, the more weight he would have on political discussions with Mr. Biden and the democratic platform.
But progressives around New York have also sounded the alarm that the cancellation of the presidential primary could have an inordinate impact on their participation. The presence of Mr. Sanders, a galvanizing force for progressives across the country, above the ticket, is likely to generate more participation for downhill races, they said.
Jeff Weaver, who acted as senior advisor to the Sanders campaign, said he was “delighted” with the judge’s decision and said that Sanders’ legal team had coordinated with the legal team of Mr. Yang.
“These primaries are not only intended to nominate a presidential candidate, but they also aim to elect delegates who will decide the party platform, who will decide the party rules,” said Weaver. He stressed that Mr. Sanders’ delegates in 2016 were essential to the overhaul of its super-delegate system for example.
He also called on the New York State legislature to come together and pass a new law significantly expanding postal voting, and to use the primary as a “testing ground for a postal voting system in the country.” New York State “. “
Although the initial decision was made by the Independent Elections Council and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo did not weigh directly in the deliberations, liberal groups like Our Revolution, an outside group aligned with Sanders, did see the hand invisible from the governor. In the absence of the overthrow, Larry Cohen, the president of Notre Révolution, had promised to fight a ground fight at the Democratic National Convention.
“Andrew Cuomo has done his best to deny Sanders and the other delegates the right to represent their party as required by party rules,” said Cohen. “Congratulations Andrew Yang for being with us and winning for all of us. E-mail voting is the answer to the pandemic, not the suppression of voters. “
Jay Jacobs, president of the New York State Democratic Party, said he still thought it was a “mistake” to hold a statewide presidential primary, but said it was elusive. State Party control.
“It was not in our hands in the first place, it is no longer in our hands now,” said Jacobs. “I supported the position that defends the health and safety of poll workers and voters.”