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Bernie Sanders Gets Chance to Pick Up New York Delegates, After Judge Orders Democratic Primary Restored
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=54189"><span class="small">Grace Panetta, Business Insider</span></a>   
Wednesday, 06 May 2020 12:57

Panetta writes: "A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the New York State Board of Elections must hold a presidential primary election and restore Sen. Bernie Sanders and all other presidential candidates who qualified to the ballot."

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: David Zalubowski/AP)
Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: David Zalubowski/AP)


Bernie Sanders Gets Chance to Pick Up New York Delegates, After Judge Orders Democratic Primary Restored

By Grace Panetta, Business Insider

06 May 20

 

federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the New York State Board of Elections must hold a presidential primary election and restore Sen. Bernie Sanders and all other presidential candidates who qualified to the ballot.

In an unprecedented move, New York last month canceled its Democratic presidential primary, which was originally scheduled for June 23, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In response to a lawsuit from Andrew Yang, a former candidate, and several New Yorkers who planned to attend the 2020 Democratic convention as delegates, New York District Judge Analisa Torres ordered that New York must hold a presidential primary with all 10 candidates who qualified.

The Board of Elections cited the coronavirus pandemic and the dangers of in-person voting in its decision to cancel the primary. While dozens of states have postponed their primaries, New York is the only state that tried to cancel.

While Sanders dropped out of the presidential primary on April 8, he is staying on the ballot for the rest of the primary cycle to earn delegates toward the convention, which would give his camp crucial influence over the party platform.

Sanders' ending his campaign "has effectively ended the real contest for the presidential nomination," Douglas Kellner, the board's cochair, said in justifying the board's decision to cancel the primary. "And what the Sanders supporters want is essentially a beauty contest that, given the situation with the public health emergency that exists now, seems to be unnecessary and, indeed, frivolous."

Sanders supporters, however, argued that it made no sense for New York to cancel its presidential primary for public-health reasons given that the state would hold dozens of congressional and state-level primaries and enact no-excuse absentee voting specifically for the June election.

While New York law requires voters to have a documented excuse to vote absentee, Gov. Andrew Cuomo essentially waived the requirement by issuing an executive order that added the risk of getting COVID-19 as a valid excuse.

Cuomo also recently announced that the state would send absentee-ballot applications with prepaid postage to registered voters to make it easy as possible for New Yorkers to vote from home.

Torres agreed with the argument that canceling the primary would only marginally benefit public health.

"In sum, removing Yang, Sanders, and other candidates from the Democratic primary ballot will protect the public from COVID-19 only to a limited extent," Torres wrote in her decision. "But barring Plaintiffs and Plaintiff-Intervenors from participating in an election for party delegates will sharply curtail their associational rights."

In addition to formally selecting a presidential nominee, Democrats convene several important committees at the convention to vote on the party's official platform and policy priorities.

For Sanders and his representatives to have a spot on any of those powerful committees, he needs to earn 25% of all pledged delegates allocated throughout the Democratic nomination process. And an inability to compete for any of New York's 274 delegates would be a big blow to his efforts.

"If all but one of the presidential candidates are removed from the ballot and the primary is not held, Delegate Plaintiffs will be deprived of the opportunity to compete for delegate slots and shape the course of events at the Convention, and voters will lose the chance to express their support for delegates who share their views," Torres wrote. "The loss of these First Amendment rights is a heavy hardship."

Sanders' camp had similarly blasted the board's decision as undemocratic and unfair to voters, describing it as a violation of New York's own delegate-selection plan. In an April 27 statement, Jeff Weaver, a senior Sanders adviser, called the board's decision "an outrage," and "a blow to American democracy," noting that neither the Democratic National Committee nor Joe Biden's campaign requested a cancellation.

"Given that the primary is months away, the proper response must be to make the election safe – such as going to all vote by mail – rather than to eliminating people's right to vote completely," Weaver said, calling for New York to lose all its delegates if the board didn't allow Sanders on the ballot.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2020 13:38