vision 2020

New York’s Democratic Presidential Primary Is Back On

Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens in October 2019. Photo: Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

On Tuesday night, a federal judge ordered New York to reinstate its June 23 presidential primary following a lawsuit by former candidate Andrew Yang, who sued the state on behalf of his fellow presidential candidates arguing that the cancellation due to the threat of the coronavirus “denies voters the right to vote.” The ruling from Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York concurred with Yang, determining that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to cut the presidential primary violated the First and 14th Amendment rights of candidates who have suspended their campaigns.

“If all but one of the presidential candidates are removed from the ballot and the primary is not held, Delegate Plaintiffs will be deprived of the opportunity to compete for delegate slots and shape the course of events at the Convention, and voters will lose the chance to express their support for delegates who share their views,” Judge Torres wrote. “The loss of these First Amendment rights is a heavy hardship.”

Cuomo announced on April 27 that the state would not hold presidential primaries following the suspension of Bernie Sanders’s campaign, the last remaining serious contender to Vice-President Joe Biden. Cuomo posited that the nomination was at that point a lock for Biden, even though Sanders announced he would remain on primary ballots to gain delegates to influence the party platform at the Democratic National Convention.

While Sanders supporters in New York were frustrated by an apparent Democratic Party decision that favored front-runner Joe Biden, Cuomo’s order would also have dampened turnout in down-ballot elections. With the remaining politicians returned to the ticket, all registered Democrats in the state will be able to vote for their preferred candidate by mail thanks to another Cuomo order that provided a a postage-paid application to vote by mail in the primary, which was originally scheduled for April 28. Though Judge Torres’s order reinstates the primary, the New York State Board of Elections announced on Wednesday they would appeal the ruling.

The order is provided here in full:

New York’s Democratic Presidential Primary Is Back On