Yang sues over New York canceling Democratic presidential primary

Greg Nash

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against New York after the state canceled its Democratic presidential primary.

The lawsuit filed by Yang and seven New Yorkers who filed to serve as his delegates to the Democratic National Convention argued the former candidate should not be taken off the ballot because he still met the requirements to stay on it. The plaintiffs say in the suit that neither Yang nor the delegates requested for the entrepreneur to be taken off the ballot.

Politico first reported the lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections after the commission canceled the state’s presidential primary on Monday.

The suit alleges Yang’s removal “denies voters due process and denies voters the right to vote, and therefore must be invalidated removing the authority for the Defendant to take the actions complained of herein.”

The former candidate’s lawsuit argues his removal from the ballot will negatively affect down-ballot candidates, giving voters “less incentive to vote if they cannot cast a vote for the highest office in the land.” Democratic House candidate Jonathan Herzog, who is running against Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), joined the lawsuit.

Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, said in a statement Tuesday night that the complaint “makes no mention” of the state law that allows New York to remove a candidate from the ballot if they are not actively seeking the presidency.

“We are confident that once the court reviews the statute and our resolution, it will find that Commissioner [Joseph] Spano and I acted appropriately in accordance with the governing provisions of the Election Law,” he said.

State officials originally postponed the presidential primary from April 28 to June 23 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Later, they decided to remove all candidates no longer seeking the presidency, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden to be awarded the state’s delegates. 

But Yang and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had sought to earn votes in the New York primary in order to have more delegates at the convention and exert more influence. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said all New York residents will be permitted to vote absentee, unlike regular years when absentee voters need to provide a reason they can’t vote in person.

New York is the state that has been hit hardest by the coronavirus, with at least 295,106 people testing positive for the virus, causing at least 17,638 fatalities, according to state health department data.

Updated on April 29 at 12:08 p.m.

Tags 2020 Democratic primary 2020 presidential election Andrew Cuomo Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Coronavirus COVID-19 Democratic National Convention Jerrold Nadler Jerry Nadler Joe Biden New York New York primary

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