News Release

Cuomo Cancelling Elections: “One Man Rule in NY” Challenged by Grassroots Activists

The Intercept reports in “How New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is Using the Pandemic to Consolidate Power” that: “New York election officials’ decision on Monday to cancel the June Democratic presidential primary was just the latest in a series of moves by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to consolidate power and shut out progressives in the state.”

The group New York Progressive Action Network held an emergency meeting Monday night and Wednesday issued the following statement, saying their activists “plan to reverse the unprecedented decision by two unelected Democratic Board of Election officials, appointed by Cuomo and convicted former Speaker [Sheldon] Silver, to knock off the ballot Senator Sanders and his 184 pledged delegates, who together filed over 65,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot.

“Attendees agreed to file a complaint with the Democratic National Committee, since NY’s action violated its rules which require pledged district delegates to be chosen at an election open to all registered Democrats. In fact, NY violated its own plan which was approved by the DNC. The remedy is that all of NY’s unelected delegates chosen in violation of these rules not be credentialed at the Convention.

“Activists also approved the filing of a federal lawsuit against the outrageous denial of basic right to vote. Also illegal was the fact that the BOE relied on a new law which Cuomo attached to his budget, passed in early April, which for the first time allowed the BOE to involuntarily remove from the ballot candidates who had ‘suspended’ their campaigns, even if they objected and had never formerly ended their campaign. This placed a retroactive requirement onto candidates, who had satisfied all ballot access requirements prior to the new law, that didn’t exist at the time they petitioned.”

George Albro, NYPAN downstate co-chair, stated: “Canceling elections is something that is supposed to only happen in dictatorships, ruled by one strongman, and not in the USA. This violation of a sacred right has angered not only Bernie supporters, or even only Democrats, but all Americans who cherish their democracy, no matter what their politics are. We Democrats rightly are appalled at Republican attempts to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters — people of color, youth, students — by imposing unreasonable voter I.D. laws, etc — but NY Democrats have topped them all: canceled the entire election and disenfranchised the whole Democratic electorate.”

Kathryn Levy, NYPAN Long Island leader added: “Unfortunately, the Governor has decided to try to shut out of the political process all forces that he doesn’t control: progressives, (by canceling the primary), minor parties (by placing new, onerous burdens on their maintaining ballot lines), and even the Legislature (which has effectively been shut out of the budget process). We now have one-man rule in NY State, and it is un-American and disgraceful.”

The group added: “While the BOE claimed to be chiefly motivated by health concerns for voters and poll workers, this was on its face disingenuous since there will still be in-person voting allowed on the same day in the overwhelming majority of districts and because EVERY registered Democrat will have the opportunity to vote by mail. Unfortunately, the media has not widely reported on these facts and most political leaders have sheepishly remained silent. So NYPAN will also start a campaign to educate the voters, and even the media, about the real motivation to their action, which is to suppress the Bernie vote, while at the same time shore up incumbents.

“Finally, the Governor’s false claim that he had nothing to do with this, and that the BOE acted on its own, must also be exposed, since the BOE expressly relied of the new law which Cuomo alone put in HIS budget without legislative involvement other than a vote on the entire budget.”

Contact:

George Albro, Co-Chair gwalbro at aol.com
Traci Strickland, Co-Chair traci.strickland at gmail.com
Jay Bellanca, Co-Chair jvbellanca at gmail.com

See piece from the media watch group FAIR: “Media Need to Scrutinize Andrew Cuomo’s Record, Not Crush on His Words.”