NEW YORK – New York’s Democratic Party leadership gave up trying to cancel the state’s June 23 presidential primary Tuesday after an appeals court rejected arguments that holding it during the coronavirus pandemic would endanger public safety.
Douglas A. Kellner, co-chair of the State Board of Elections, said he and the board's commissioner would not appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after the ruling by the three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
He said they planned to urge voters to use absentee ballots while they “focus all of our attention on the daunting tasks of managing the primary election in a way that minimizes the risks to the public and to election workers."
State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs said scrapping the primary would have been “a whole lot safer."
“Of course I’m disappointed and hopeful that none of the worst predictions for poll worker health will come true, but we will comply of course with the court’s order and we will hold the primary," Jacobs said.
Even without the party’s presidential primary, voting would still have taken place in most of the state in primaries for state and congressional offices.
Tuesday's 2nd Circuit ruling was praised by lawyers for supporters of Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang, two Democratic presidential candidates who had suspended campaigns but hope to secure enough delegates to influence the party's platform and rules later this summer.
The appeals court agreed in a written order to be followed by a lengthier opinion with a lower court judge who ruled two weeks ago that the primary must include the contest.