The New York Democratic presidential primary must take place June 23 because canceling it would be unconstitutional and deprive withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang of proper representation at the Democratic convention, a judge ruled Tuesday. US District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan ruled after lawyers for Sanders and Yang argued Monday that they otherwise would be harmed irreparably, the AP reports. The judge said there was enough time before the primary to plan how to carry it out safely. She acknowledged that the reason it was canceled—to prevent the spread of COVID-19—was an important state interest but said she was unconvinced it justified infringing rights, especially since every voter can use an absentee ballot. She noted that no other state had canceled its primary.
Torres wrote that removing presidential contenders from the primary ballot deprived them of votes for the Democratic Party’s nomination. She said it also diminished the delegates’ influence on the party’s platform and their ability to react to unexpected convention developments. It also “deprived Democratic voters of the opportunity to elect delegates who could push their point of view in that forum," she said. “The loss of these First Amendment rights is a heavy hardship." State board of elections spokesman John Conklin said: “No comment at this time. Our lawyers are reviewing the decision.” Joe Biden’s campaign declined to comment. The campaign has kept its distance from the situation, not wanting to become embroiled in a new fight over nearly 300 delegates to the summer convention and saying the campaign didn’t ask for the primary to be scrapped.
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