A federal judge ordered New York to restore all qualifying candidates to the Democratic presidential primary ballot and proceed as scheduled, The New York Times reports.
Democrats on the New York board of elections voted last month to remove every name but former Vice President Joe Biden from the primary ballot, effectively canceling the contest.
Democratic commissioner Doug Kellner argued that Sanders suspending his campaign "ended the real context for the primary election."
“Joe Biden is the only candidate and therefore he is effectively the winner of the New York primary," Kellner said, adding that a primary would be "unnecessary and frivolous."
Candidates cry foul:
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign said that the state should lose all of its delegates for trying to scrap the primary.
"What the Board of Elections is ignoring is that the primary process not only leads to a nominee but also the selection of delegates which helps determine the platform and rules of the Democratic Party," top adviser Jeff Weaver said. "If this is not remedied, New York should lose all its delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention and there should be a broader review by the Democratic Party of New York's checkered pattern of voter disenfranchisement.”
Former candidate Andrew Yang went further, filing a lawsuit to challenge the move along with several of his supporters.
“This unprecedented and unwarranted move infringes the rights of Plantiffs and all New York State Democratic Party voters,” the lawsuit said. “It fundamentally denies them the right to choose our next candidate for the office of President of the United States.”
Judge says primary back on:
On Tuesday, District Court Judge Analisa Torres ordered officials to restore all of the qualifying candidates to the ballot in response to Yang’s lawsuit.
Torress ruled that neither Yang nor Sanders had “taken formal action” to be removed from the ballot.
Though containing the spread of the coronavirus was an “important state interest,” she said, “the Court is not convinced that canceling the presidential primary would meaningfully advance that interest — at least not to the degree as would justify the burdensome impingement”
Kellner vowed to appeal the ruling. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the primary would go on unless something changes on appeal.
Yang said he was “glad that a federal judge agreed that depriving millions of New Yorkers of the right to vote was wrong.”
“We’re glad Judge Torres has restored basic democracy in New York. People in every state should have the right to express their preference in the 2020 Democratic primary,” added Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “We have confidence that New York can hold elections in June in a safe manner that preserves New Yorkers’ right to vote.”