NEW YORK (AP/NEWS10) — Lawyers for withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang are urging a judge to overrule New York state’s decision to cancel its 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Both native New Yorkers, Yang and Sanders ran on progressive policy platforms.
Lawyers for would-be delegates including former presidential candidate Andrew Yang—born in Schenectady—argued Monday that the state acted unconstitutionally when it made the cancellation on April 27, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed by Yang and others was joined by Sanders’ supporters.
Judge Analisa Torres heard arguments on a conference call before reserving decision. The Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections voted to cancel the primary even though New York was still planning to hold its congressional and state-level primaries June 23.
Listen to the excerpt of the podcast below:
For his part, Sanders, perhaps the most progressive major-party candidate in American history, urged voters to cast their ballots for him even as he endorsed presumptive nominee Joe Biden. Remaining on the ballot theoretically allows Sanders to influence the Democratic presidential platform, pulling it to the left.
According to Ballotpedia, even though the presidential primary is canceled, elections for 13 of New York’s 27 congressional districts are still to be decided on June 23.
Activists in New York and across the country view the move with skepticism, arguing that the cancellation is meant to indirectly prevent progressives from being involved in the political process. Without big-name progressive candidates bringing out voters to cast symbolic protest votes, smaller down-ballot contests are freed of progressive influence.
Specifically, the suit argues that the Board of Elections is “Suppressing voter turnout as voters will have less incentive to vote if they cannot cast a vote for the highest office in the land.” Yang filed suit on April 28. View the complaint below: