New York state Democratic presidential primary will take place as planned next month, District Judge Analisa Torres ruled.
Last week, Democrats on the state board of elections voted to remove all the presidential candidates who had suspended their campaigns, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the only name on the ballot, and canceled the presidential primary amid coronavirus fears.
Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had issued an executive order in March moving the primary from its originally scheduled date of April 28 to June 23.
The preliminary injunction, granted by United States District Judge Analisa Torres, came in response to a lawsuit last week from former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and several New Yorkers who had hoped to serve as his delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
“I’m glad that a federal judge agreed that depriving millions of New Yorkers of the right to vote was wrong,” Yang said in a statement. “I hope that the New York Board of Elections takes from this ruling a newfound appreciation of their role in safeguarding our democracy.”
The New York Board of Elections must “reinstate to the Democratic primary ballot those presidential and delegate candidates who were duly qualified as of April 26, 2020, and to hold the primary election on June 23, 2020,” the ruling said.
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The New York State Board of Elections declined to comment on the ruling Tuesday night.
In her ruling, Torres wrote that Yang and the would-be delegates had “made a clear and substantial showing of likelihood of success on the merits of their claim” that the action by the Democrats on the state board had violated their constitutional rights.
Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir lauded Torres in a statement Tuesday for having “restored basic democracy in New York.”
“People in every state should have the right to express their preference in the 2020 Democratic primary,” he added. “We have confidence that New York can hold elections in June in a safe manner that preserves New Yorkers’ right to vote.”
In April, New York became the first state to cancel its presidential primary over coronavirus fears, New York State Board of Elections co-chair Douglas Kellner said.
Kellner, one of the Democratic commissioners on the board, said that the decision came after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign earlier that month, which “basically rendered the primary moot.”
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“At a time when the goal is to avoid unnecessary social contact, our conclusion was that there was no purpose in holding a beauty contest primary that would marginally increase the risk to both voters and poll workers,” he added.
But the decision saw strong blowback from the Sanders camp.
Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver at the time called the decision “an outrage, a blow to American democracy, and must be overturned by the (Democratic National Committee).”
Weaver said that the state had violated its approved delegate selection plan and should lose its delegates to the national convention if “this is not remedied.”
Multiple states have postponed their primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly altered the daily lives of Americans.