The Democrats on the state Board of Elections voted unanimously on the move on Monday, after Sanders’ name was removed from the ballot. Earlier this month, Sanders suspended his campaign and endorsed Joe Biden, effectively ending the Democratic race for the nomination.
The outside counsel for the Sanders’ campaign urged the Board of Elections to keep Sanders on the ballot, arguing that it would “undermine the Democratic Party’s interest in self-governance and unification.”
When he exited the race, Sanders said that he would continue to amass delegates, a move widely viewed as a way to have increased leverage in crafting the party platform.
“Senator Sanders has collaborated with state parties, the national party and the Biden campaign, to strengthen the Democrats by aligning the party’s progressive and moderate wings,” the attorneys’ letter said. “His removal from the ballot would hamper those efforts, to the detriment of the party in the general election. The Board should exercise its discretion to avoid such interference.” The letter was obtained by HuffPost.
Our Revolution, an organizing group supporting Sanders, suggested that because there will be no primary, there will be a challenge to New York’s delegates at the convention in August.
“New Yorkers should be pissed. They may not get credentialed at the convention,” read a tweet by the group.
But the election commissioners argued that by canceling the presidential contest, they were minimizing the risks to poll workers and voters in the midst of a pandemic. Polling places still will remain in areas of the state that will have competitive contests in congressional and state races.
Sanders’ senior adviser Jeff Weaver issued a statement blasting the decision.
“No one asked New York to cancel the election,” Weaver said. “The DNC didn’t request it. The Biden campaign didn’t request it. And our campaign communicated that we wanted to remain on the ballot. Given that the primary is months away, the proper response must be to make the election safe – such as going to all vote by mail – rather than to eliminating people’s right to vote completely.”