After New York’s Board of Elections canceled its Democratic presidential primary on April 27, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders—who’d suspended his own campaign on April 8, but intended to stay on primary ballots and amass delegates he could then leverage at the Democratic National Convention this summer—and his supporters made their outrage known. The very next day, former presidential candidate and New York resident Andrew Yang led the charge in a federal lawsuit contesting the cancelation of the primary, on the basis of voter suppression. Also, in New York, voters aren’t just voting for candidates, they’re also choosing which delegates represent them at the Convention, which the cancelation effectively denied them. Yang was joined in his lawsuit by seven would-be Yang delegates.
On Wednesday, Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York filed an immediate primary injunction, placing Sanders, Yang, and eight other candidates back on the ballot.
Under a new state law slipped into a budget passed just days before Sanders suspended his campaign, the Board of Elections was permitted to scrub the ballot of all candidates with “suspended” campaigns, leaving just former Vice President Joe Biden. Previously, those candidates would have remained on the ballot.
Now they’re back on the ballot, thanks to Judge Torres, who believed Yang’s lawsuit had merit, according to her ruling.
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.
In his official statement on the Torres ruling, Yang chided New York’s BOE officials who scrubbed the ballot in the first place.
New York votes on June 23; state and local primaries were already scheduled for that date before Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved the presidential primary due to the novel coronavirus, which has hit New York harder than anywhere else in the U.S. Due to the pandemic, all voters are now permitted to vote absentee.