Federal Judge Rules New York Must Hold Canceled Democratic Primary

A Federal judge sided with former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Wednesday, ruling that New York was disenfranchising key voters by canceling — and not simply postponing — its presidential primary, which was supposed to be held late last month.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres of Manhattan “ordered Tuesday that New York state hold its canceled Democratic primary in June, which places Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and other former 2020 candidates back on the ballot,” according to NBC News.

New York first postponed and then canceled its primary over concerns about the spread of coronavirus, under the assumption that holding the vote would put both poll workers and voters at risk of contracting the deadly virus, which causes COVID-19.

By the time New York made the decision, all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates had dropped out of the race save one, former Vice President Joe Biden, making Biden the presumptive nominee, even though several states have yet to hold their votes.

Yang sued, though, because New York decided that, instead of simply calling off the contest, they’d drop all but Biden’s name from the ballot, making the vote inconsequential. Yang’s lawyers argued that, despite there being no chance Yang, Sanders, or any other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate might snag the nomination, that earning delegates from Democratic primaries is in itself a prize, giving Democratic also-rans with large followings the ability to exercise a measure of control over the Democratic party platform, authored and voted on at the party’s convention.

Bernie Sanders, who is currently trying to collect as many delegates as possible — and even inked a deal with Biden to keep the delegates he earned in the first series of primaries, when the race was still competitive — agreed with Yang and Sanders supporters even called the New York primary “fixed” — designed to put Biden comfortably ahead of Sanders by earning all of New York’s delegates without actually competing in the primary.

Judge Torres agreed.

“The Court concludes that Plaintiffs and Plaintiff-Intervenors have shown a clear and substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Democratic Commissioners’ April 27 Resolution removing Yang, Sanders, and eight other Democratic presidential candidates from the ballot deprived them of associational rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution,” she wrote in her decision, issued early Wednesday.

She also granted the platinff’s request for a preliminary injunction, which “restores all ten presidential candidates named in the April 27 Resolution, and their respective slates of delegate candidates, to the New York Democratic presidential primary ballot,” and demands that New York hold an election on the final possible date, June 23,2020.

Other states are currently wrestling with the possibility of canceling their own primaries, though its not clear how much impact holding a vote has on the spread of coronavirus. Wisconsin, which held its primary in the height of the pandemic, does not appear to have seen an anticipated spike in coronavirus cases related to the election.

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