A federal judge has ruled that New York must hold its Democratic primary in June, and that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and others taken off the Democratic Party’s ballot must have their names restored.
As The Hill reported, Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York ruled on Tuesday that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to cancel the primary was a violation of the First and 14th Amendment rights of those on the ballot. Cuomo had announced last month that he was canceling the primary after Sanders announced he was suspending his campaign, making former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive nominee. New York has been the hardest hit state in the country during the coronavirus pandemic. In response, it has adopted a number of stringent measures to slow its spread, including banning all public gatherings.
The New York State Democratic Party concurred with Cuomo’s decision, with state party chairman Jay Jacobs saying at the time that the primary should not be held.
“We shouldn’t have nonessential primaries. There is only one candidate who is running.”
Despite his decision to stop campaigning, Sanders said he wanted to remain on the ballot and collect as many delegates as possible ahead of this summer’s Democratic National Convention. This would give him more sway in crafting the party’s platform. A number of candidates including entrepreneur Andrew Yang had filed suit against the state, asking for the primary to be held with their names still on the ballot.
In the ruling reported by Bloomberg, Judge Torres said that removing all candidates other than Biden and canceling the primary would mean Yang and others filing suit “will be deprived of the opportunity to compete for delegate slots and shape the course of events at the convention.”
“Voters will lose the chance to express their support for delegates who share their views. The loss of these First Amendment rights is a heavy hardship.”
A number of other states postponed primaries or moved to an exclusively mail-in voting process after the coronavirus outbreak. Some that chose to go forward with traditional elections were met with controversy. In Wisconsin, a number of voting locations around the city of Milwaukee were shut down, leading to long lines and large crowds at the ones that remained open. As The Inquisitr reported, a number of positive coronavirus cases were traced back to voting locations from election day.
New York’s presidential primary will be held on June 23.