New York’s Democratic presidential primary has been postponed, canceled and now restored by a federal judge who said the cancellation was an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of candidates.
On Wednesday, the state Board of Elections announced plans to appeal the judge’s decision, but attention was already shifting to how New Yorkers can safely vote in the June 23rd primaries, which also include congressional and state legislative races.
“If we have to have an election day where people show up on Election Day, my two cents to people is: Please vote by absentee ballot, so you don't have to show up," Governor Cuomo said.
Cuomo last month directed that all registered New York voters be mailed applications for absentee ballots.
His decision came before the state Board of Elections cancelled the primary, citing COVID-19 concerns and that fact that all Democratic candidates but Joe Biden had dropped out.
Andrew Yang, his delegate candidates and Bernie Sanders-aligned delegate candidates then sued the board.
They celebrated the court ruling and said safety concerns were being addressed anyway, given all the other races on the ballot.
“It’s not even about just this primary on its own and giving voters their constitutional right to express their right and preference, it’s the fact that voting was already made safe. It was already made safe by mail," said Jonathan Herzog, a congressional candidate and Yang delegate candidate.
“This is a good thing for everyone in CD-10 to be able to vote very easily without leaving their home or worrying about getting in lines or being outside anywhere," said Hellen Suh, a Yang delegate candidate.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit say they want delegates allotted before the Democratic National Convention in late August.
They say the primary isn’t just about the nominee for president. It’s also about having delegates weigh in on the vice presidential nominee, the party platform and party rules.
“It’s important that the voters decide who the delegates are and not just the party apparatus," said George Albro, a Sanders delegate candidate and founder of the New York Progressive Action Network.
The state and city boards of elections didn’t answer questions on when the applications would be mailed for absentee ballots.
But those applications are available online for those who want to get a jumpstart on the process.
And in a sign that perhaps Election Night won't be as drama-filled as usual, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said Wednesday that absentee voting means many races won't be called until days after the polls close.