[Image via fineartamerica]
A federal judge yesterday reversed a decision by the New York State Board of Elections to essentially cancel the Democratic presidential primary, ordering it to proceed as scheduled on June 23. The Washington Post has more:
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Democratic candidates including Sen. Bernie Sanders who were struck from the New York state ballot should be restored, ordering officials to conduct a presidential primary they had opted to cancel amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
In a 30-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres wrote that the plaintiffs, which included former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, had presented a credible argument on the basis of constitutional rights. Yang praised the ruling on Twitter.
“Plaintiffs and Plaintiff-Intervenors have made a strong showing of irreparable harm without emergency relief,” and “that the public interest would be served by such relief,” wrote Torres, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
John Conklin, the director of public information for the New York State Board of Elections, said the board’s attorneys were reviewing the ruling “and considering our options.”
The state board, citing concerns about the coronavirus, had removed suspended candidates from the ballot, with the effect of cancelling the vote:
Last week, Democratic commissioners on the state elections board, after weighing Sanders’s push to stay on the ballot along with the impact of conducting a vote during the pandemic, opted to remove him and other contenders, concluding that the primary was effectively settled.
Because New York does not hold uncontested primaries, the decision had the effect of scrapping the vote.
For the time being, the election is back on:
Torres’s ruling directed officials to hold the primary on June 23, the date they had once planned to conduct it, after moving it back from April 28 due to the pandemic.
The New York State Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The original decision to cancel the presidential primary had created significant confusion about the June 23 election; while the nomination contest was the only one on the ballot in some counties, other counties had down-ballot races that were still going to be decided on primary day. Whatever the eventual outcome – and it seems like there could be an appeal – hopefully the state board and others will help Empire State voters understand what is (and isn’t) on the ballot when primary day finally arrives. Stay tuned …