A federal appeals court should let New York’s Democratic presidential primary proceed on June 23 over the objections of the state, a lawyer for delegates said Monday.
Attorney Jeffrey Kurzon filed written arguments with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case Friday as lawyers for the state seek to overturn a lower-court decision that concluded the cancellation of the presidential primary was unconstitutional.
“To take the extraordinary action of cancelling an election, no doubt an election now in progress, would cause extreme harm to the belief in democracy in our country and that we are a republic," Kurzon wrote.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan ordered the primary to take place on the same day other New York elections will occur, nullifying a decision by the Democratic members of the State’s Board of Elections to cancel the primary because of concerns about the coronavirus.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
Kurzon said withdrawn Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders deserve a chance to gain delegates to the August Democratic convention.
He noted that Yang spent more than two years to qualify to be on the ballot and he deserved the chance to secure delegates and influence the platform that former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to campaign with once he is formally chosen as the Democratic nominee for president.
On Friday, lawyers for the state asked the appeals court to cancel the presidential primary, saying over 4,600 additional election workers would have to be hired in an unsafe environment, many of them in areas where the absence of contested races otherwise required few election hires.
Kurzon said canceling the presidential primary would depress turnout, cheating candidates in contested races for Congress and state offices of a robust number of votes.
He also noted that the primary was occurring anyway in the downstate region hit hardest by the coronavirus.
“Judge Torres’ well-reasoned decision must stand for reasons of law and equity, to protect the sliver of sovereignty awarded to each Citizen, the right to vote, as well as their guaranteed rights to free speech, due process and equal protection under the law," the lawyer noted.