Posted on April 28, 2020 in Press Releases


CONTACT: Ryan J. Suto | | (202) 429-9210

April 28, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Earlier this week, the New York State Board of Elections canceled the Democratic Presidential Primary, which was re-scheduled for June 23, 2020. The Arab American Institute (AAI) requests the New York State Board of Elections to reconsider this decision. This undemocratic decision would silence the voices of nearly 20 million New Yorkers.

In statements to the press, the New York State Board of Elections pointed to the COVID-19 epidemic as the basis for this decision. However, New York state will go forward to all other election primaries on June 23, and will mail all eligible voters absentee ballot applications ahead of that date.

Holding elections and encouraging broad participation to measure the voice of the people is a central requirement for democracy, yet alarmingly, Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, referred to the idea of upholding this central tenet of democracy as “essentially a beauty contest.”

Maya Berry, Executive Director of AAI, noted, “As New York includes the third-largest population of Arab Americans, this decision disproportionately disenfranchises the Arab American community, many of whom were engaged with the campaign of their choice, ready to complete their civic duty of voicing their opinion of how they see the future of their party and their country.” She continued, “We fear this decision by New York will empower other states to further disenfranchise voters. We respectfully ask that New York strongly reconsider this decision.”