One former candidate and one current candidate for Queens borough president will continue their fight in court to reverse Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that canceled the special election for Queens borough president.
The special election was originally scheduled for March 24 and rescheduled to June 23 before being canceled outright.
Jim Quinn and Dao Yin, who both ran in the special election prior to its cancellation, separately filed an appeal earlier this week against the court’s decision to uphold governor’s order.
The pair have argued in court that the governor’s decision was unlawful. While many of the candidates, including Yin, remain on the ballot for the June 23 primary, the decision to cancel the special election eliminated Quinn, who had only petitioned for the special election, from the ballot.
“We brought this case forward in the name of democracy and the rights of Queens voters,” Quinn said. “The judge in the lower court was in agreement with the merits of our argument that Governor Cuomo took extreme and unnecessary action in canceling the election, which makes his decision not granting us relief even more disappointing and confounding.”
Quinn said the decision to cancel the special election after early voting had already begun was an act of disenfranchisement against Republicans and conservatives, a group who’s support the former Queens assistant district attorney had garnered.
“The voters — thousands of whom had already cast their ballot in the special election — have a right to an elected borough president before January 2021,” Quinn said. “We live in a democratic republic, not a dictatorship, and I will not sit by silently while the voters of Queens are disenfranchised.”
Yin, who has jumped to Quinn’s side, has made similar arguments in court.
“The Executive Order canceling the special election is not only unnecessary and unconstitutional, but it is also dangerous in that it establishes a precedent for other politicians to overstep their authority and interfere with a future election under the guise of an ’emergency,’ real or perceived,” Yin’s lawyers said in their appeal.
The appeal comes after a string of unusual events that led to the cancellation of the election. It began with former Queens borough president Melinda Katz’s election to Queens district attorney in 2019. The vacant seat was filled by her deputy, Sharon Lee, who is currently serving as the acting borough president. A special election was scheduled for March 23, the winner of which would serve until January 2021.
Citing threats to public health, Cuomo eventually canceled the election outright, an act that allowed all candidates in the special election — except Quinn — to remain on the ballot for the June 23 Democratic primary.
The winner of the primary will face Republican Joann Ariola in the November general election.
Councilmen Donovan Richards and Costa Constantinides, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, retired NYPD Sergeant Anthony Miranda and Yin will appear on the ballot in the June Democratic primary.