Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

A voter heads to a polling location inside Alice Cook House in 2018's midterm elections. On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered that New York must hold a June 23 presidential primary –– the state Board of Elections had cancelled it on April 27.

May 5, 2020

New York Presidential Primary Must Go On, Federal Judge Orders

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New York State unconstitutionally canceled its June 23 presidential primary, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, ordering that it must continue as previously scheduled.

The ruling comes after weeks of dueling between courts and progressive political groups.

The case, brought by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleged that the primary’s cancellation denies voters due process and violates voting rights.

Citing the public health threat, the New York Board of Elections canceled the presidential primary on April 27. The board’s co-chairman, Douglas Kellner, called it a “beauty contest,” with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) April 9 campaign suspension leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive democratic nominee.

Kellner plans to appeal the ruling.

In her ruling, Judge Analisa Torres wrote that voters would have been “deprived of the right to cast a vote for an otherwise qualified candidate and the political views expressed by that candidate.”

Cornell Progressives, formerly known as Students for Bernie, praised the ruling, stating “If the cancellation of the New York Primary was an insult to democracy, it’s reinstating is democracy restored.”

Also welcoming the decision, the Cornell Democrats called for an expansion of vote-by-mail in New York and for the state to “address how it plans to keep voters safe during this pandemic.”

Yang celebrated the ruling in a statement: “I’m glad that a federal judge agreed that depriving millions of New Yorkers of the right to vote was wrong.”

This piece is part of The Cornell Daily Sun’s Election 2020 Section. Read more of The Sun’s election coverage here.