NEW YORK, N.Y. — New York State’s Presidential Primary appears to be back on after a federal judge ruled in favor of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Tuesday. Yang had challenged the state Board of Elections’ decision to cancel the primary, citing concerns from COVID-19, last week.
“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,” said Judge Analisa Torres in her opinion. “The loss of these First Amendment rights is a heavy hardship.”
The New York State Board of Elections, using language tucked into this year’s adopted state budget, canceled the presidential primary. The move has been roundly criticized as undemocratic, particularly by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was the last candidate to drop out of the race. Adding further confusion to the mix, the state still intends to hold primary elections for state and local offices on June 23.
On Monday, Chariman of the New York State Democratic Party, Jay Jacobs, reiterated his support for the cancellation.
“If we closed all nonessential businesses in New York to protect our health, shouldn’t we cancel all nonessential elections?” said Jacobs in a letter to county commitee chairs that was forwarded to the Voice. “And, if an election where only one candidate is running isn’t a nonessential election, I don’t know what is!”
Torres ordered that the primary be held as was scheduled (at the time of its cancellation) on June 23.
Judge Torres decision, however, might not be the final say — the Wall Street Journal reports that the state board of elections will appeal the ruling.
The Opinion and Order from Judge Analisa Torres can be read below: