The New York Progressive Action Network released the following statement on Wednesday regarding the NY primary election scheduled for June 23.
NEW YORK: Over 150 petitioned delegate candidates to the Democratic National Convention for Senator Bernie Sanders joined with over 60 grassroots organizations and individuals from around the state Wednesday to send letters urging Governor Cuomo and Board of Elections Commissioners to withhold from exercising a new provision in the recently approved New York state budget which would allow for the cancellation of the New York Democratic presidential primary election under certain circumstances. Prominent grassroots activist groups including Citizens Action of New York and New York’s Working Families Party, which holds a ballot line in the state and whose organization lists over 50,000 members nationwide, were among the signatories.
The Sanders delegation is composed of the most diverse slate of delegate candidates in New York State history, with over 40% people of color, 37% under 36 years old, and 14% LGBTQ delegate candidates reporting. The Sanders team was the only Presidential campaign to fully staff their own delegation with volunteers, as the delegates stated in their letter, which also emphasized their legal right to appear and remain on the ballot. “We obtained and filed over 65,000 petition signatures from New York State registered Democrats, in all 27 Congressional Districts. Every delegate position for Senator Sanders -- 184 in total -- was filled. Upon filing our acceptance forms, we were entitled to appear on the primary ballot under the then-current law.”
Martha Ayon, community organizer and activist and pledged Sanders Delegate from New York’s 6th Congressional District stated, “If the Governor cancels the Primary Election, he silences the hard-working people of color, queer people, and other marginalized New Yorkers among our delegation who worked tirelessly in the cold gathering signatures. Our progressive values should be represented at the Democratic Convention, not only to choose the presidential and vice presidential candidates, but to make sure our platform is fully represented in key decisions and during the formation of crucial committees whose importance has been magnified by recent times of crisis and uncertainty. The party must represent the people, not the super-wealthy special interests.”
An excerpt from the Sanders delegation’s letter reads “We are deeply concerned about recent statements by Democratic Party officials, particularly by the Executive Director, Jay Jacobs, in which it is alleged that by virtue of new legislative language surreptitiously inserted at the last moment into the NYS Budget, Senator Sanders and his delegates could be removed from the ballot against his wishes and our wishes.”
In the other letter to Cuomo and the Elections Commissioners, over 60 statewide organizations wrote, “We are genuinely concerned about the suspension of democracy as proposed in a last-minute clause tucked into the budget. Should you choose to enforce Part TT of NYS7506B, it would be deeply divisive, at a time when the Democratic Party needs to be strong and unified. We urge you to prioritize saving lives and defeating Donald Trump over the possible implementation of this clause. Cancelling the Presidential primary is not the right way to address our current challenges.”
George Albro, NYPAN co-chair observed, "It is simply undemocratic and unAmerican for a Governor to rely on a law, inserted into a budget in the middle of the night, to remove candidates for office who have duly petitioned onto the ballot, and to cancel a Presidential primary, especially where those delegates will be replaced by party favorites at a meeting controlled by Democratic Party bosses. The excuse that Senator Sanders has suspended his campaign is bogus, since the Senator expressly stated he intends to remain on the ballot in order to accumulate delegates - and since convention delegates vote on much more than President: such as the VP and approval of the critical platform & rules. Let the people vote, Mr. Governor. You are right that Trump is not King, but neither are you."
NYPAN is a grassroots progressive advocacy organization, founded after the 2016 General Election, and composed of over 30 chapters and affiliates across New York State. NYPAN’s mission is to provide on-the-ground support for progressive candidates, promote progressive legislation on issues including election reform, the environment, healthcare, and social and racial justice, and work with elected officials who will fight to achieve our collective goals. NYPAN is a chapter of Our Revolution and an affiliate of the New York Working Families Party.