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Andrew Yang sues New York Board of Elections over canceled primary

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against the New York State Board of Elections. The lawsuit comes one day after the board's decision to effectively cancel the presidential primary.

Joined by seven other New Yorkers who filed to serve as Yang delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the entrepreneur-turned-political candidate argues he met all of the necessary requirements and did not ask to be removed from New York State's ballot.  

"This unprecedented and unwarranted move infringes the rights of Plaintiffs and all New York State Democratic Party voters, of which there are estimated to be more than six million, as it fundamentally denies them the right to choose our next candidate for the office of President of the United States," the lawsuit reads in part. 

New York state, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday took the unprecedented step of canceling its June 23 presidential primary, citing coronavirus concerns. That decision means no other candidate will have the chance to appear on the ballot in the state and Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, will receive all the 274 pledged delegates.

"I think that it's time for us to recognize that the presidential contest is over," said chairman of the Board of Elections Doug Kellner on Monday. "Joe Biden is the only candidate and therefore, he has effectively won the New York primary."

The primary had initially been scheduled for April 28 but then was postponed to June 23. Congressional and local elections set to be held on June 23 are still expected to be held on that date.

The DNC said Monday that "any substantive change" in allocating delegates will need to be reviewed by the DNC's Rules and By-Laws Committee. Once the state party submits the updated delegate plan, the committee will review that plan and make a determination.  

The decision to remove Yang from the ballot, Yang's lawsuit alleges, will result in "disenfranchising hundreds of persons" and "suppressing voter turnout" to the detriment of down ballot candidates.

One of those candidates – Jonathan Herzog – is also a party to the lawsuit and currently pitching a primary bid against incumbent Congressman Jerry Nadler from New York's 10th District.

While Yang is the first presidential candidate to file suit, he is not the only campaign representative to protest the determination out of New York state. Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders' campaign, called the Board of Elections' decision an "outrage, a blow to American democracy and must be overturned" by the Democratic National Committee, Monday.

The DNC has stated that "any substantive change" in allocating delegates will need to be reviewed by the DNC's Rules and By-Laws Committee.

Yang has not yet to formally commented on the lawsuit, but he tweeted Tuesday night "Voting is kind of a big deal."

Caroline Linton and Eleanor Watson contributed to this report. 

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