New York’s Democratic presidential primary is back on

Senator Bernie Sanders earlier this year.
Senator Bernie Sanders earlier this year.
Kari Bjorn/Shutterstock
Senator Bernie Sanders earlier this year.

New York’s Democratic presidential primary is back on

A federal judge sided with Andrew Yang, although an appeal is likely.
May 6, 2020

Only about a week after the state Board of Elections declared it was canceling the state Democratic presidential primary over coronavirus safety concerns, a federal judge ruled that decision to be unconstitutional. So for now, pending an appeal, New York Democrats will be able to cast a ballot for their preferred presidential candidate, even though Joe Biden is already the presumptive nominee. Delegates are still at stake, and U.S. Sen. and former candidate Bernie Sanders hopes to gain enough of them to influence party decisions at the Democratic National Convention.

The ruling came as the result of a lawsuit filed by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He argued the Board of Elections’ decision to remove from the ballot all candidates that have dropped out or suspended their campaigns violated the constitutional rights of voters to cast a ballot. The judge agreed, adding that since the vast majority of the state still has state and congressional primaries on the same day and the state had expanded absentee voting to everyone, citing pandemic safety was not a good enough reason to cancel the race. Twenty out of 62 counties have no races other than the presidential primary, but the majority of poll sites in the state’s most populous regions would still need to be open for state and congressional primaries.

Stay tuned for updates: The State Board of Elections’ Democratic co-Chair Douglas Kellner, one of two men who made the decision to cancel, told The Wall Street Journal the agency plans to appeal the court ruling. 

Rebecca C. Lewis
is deputy state politics reporter at City & State.
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