Yesterday, Judge Torres issued a preliminary injunction ordering the New York State Board of Elections to reinstate the Democratic presidential primary that it had decided last week to cancel. Former candidate Andrew Yang and a number of his pledged delegates sued to halt the move.
As Judge Torres found, because a primary “actually results in the election of delegates to the Convention,” the cancellation would not only deprive the other presidential candidates of the opportunity to earn votes for the nomination, but would deprive their pledged delegates of the opportunity to influence the party platform and vote on issues of party governance. Although Judge Torres agreed that “[p]rotecting the public from the spread of COVID-19 is an important state interest,” she was “not convinced that canceling the primary would meaningfully advance that interest,” particularly because there were less drastic alternatives:
As Plaintiffs and Plaintiff-Intervenors point out, Governor Cuomo has already issued executive orders allowing every voter statewide to request an absentee ballot and providing absentee ballot request forms. . . . [T]hough all states are impacted by the current public health crisis, and some have rescheduled their presidential primary elections in light of COVID-19, New York is the only one to have canceled its primary, casting further doubt on Defendants’ contention that scrapping the primary is necessary to combat the risk posed by the virus.