Ocasio-Cortez fails to secure Working Families Party ballot spot

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A judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) failed to secure a spot on the Working Families Party ballot in November.

Justice Phillip Hom of the New York Supreme Court of Queens County ordered the Board of Elections to take Ocasio-Cortez’s name off party’s ballot because she failed to collect the 15 signatures required in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The progressive New York lawmaker will still appear on the Democratic primary ballot and is favored to win that contest as well as the general election.

Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, told The Hill that aides decided to stop collecting signatures because of the coronavirus pandemic to avoid violating the public health orders, which she said would have been “irresponsible.”

She also said that the judge’s decision has no effect on the Democratic primary, which is the most competitive race in the mostly Democratic district. Working Families Party members cannot vote in the Democratic primary.

“Not having this line doesn’t really impact the outcome in any way in terms of the June 23 elections,” she said.

Hitt also noted to The New York Times that aides decided to stop collecting signatures because of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the judge’s decision has no effect on the Democratic primary. Hitt also noted that Ocasio-Cortez still has the endorsement of the Working Families Party. 

Ocasio-Cortez’s original submission of 14 signatures was challenged by Democratic opponent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor. Thirteen of the signatures were ruled valid, and one was removed because the signatory was a registered Democrat, Caruso-Cabrera’s lawyer, Martin Connor, told the Times

Connor added that the coronavirus shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the lack of signatures. 

“The AOC campaign is in shock,” the Caruso-Cabrera campaign said in a statement. “She has hurt working people of the Bronx and Queens with her votes and creates disunity within our party. Her own campaign spokesman ran away from her in March. No wonder why pro union forces don’t want her and neither do our neighborhoods.”


Sochie Nnaemeka, the New York state director of the Working Families Party, said in a statement that the party plans to work to ensure Ocasio-Cortez’s win.

“As the pandemic was erupting, we did not believe it was appropriate to put canvassers or voters’ health at risk. We stopped collecting signatures — knowing it would not affect our ability to help in the Democratic primary,” she said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) had reduced the number of needed signatures needed to appear on a ballot because of the pandemic.

Updated at 1:57 p.m.

Tags 2020 ballot 2020 House race Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Andrew Cuomo New York Working Families Party

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