Lawsuit Alleges that Cuomo’s Attempt to Cancel the Mandatory June 23 Special Election
for Queens Borough President is Illegal and Invalid
NEW YORK, NY, May 8, 2020. – Today, Dao Yin, a candidate for Queens Borough President, filed a lawsuit against the Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, alleging that the executive order in which Cuomo cancelled the Special Election previously scheduled to occur on June 23 is illegal and invalid.
“Cuomo’s attempt to cancel the Special Election for Queens Borough President is nothing more than an unlawful power grab, plain and simple,” said Aaron Foldenauer, the election lawyer representing Mr. Yin. “Notably, the Governor is allowing a primary election to proceed on that very same day in Queens and thus he cannot even plausibly contend that cancelling the Special Election is due to COVID-19.”
“The non-partisan Special Election is mandated by the New York City Charter, and Cuomo’s attempt to cancel it means that only registered Democrats would be able to vote in an upcoming primary for Queens Borough President,” said Foldenauer, Yin’s attorney. “This would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Queens voters and virtually ensure that a candidate supported by Cuomo’s political machine would prevail.”
Another candidate for Queens Borough President, Jim Quinn, has also filed suit challenging Governor Cuomo’s executive order.
Yin, who has focused his campaign on fighting for additional resources to fight the Coronavirus epidemic in Queens, emphasized that voting had already begun prior to Cuomo’s abrupt decision to cancel the Special Election.
“Over 5,400 voters have already cast their ballots in the Special Election, and my campaign has gathered hundreds of additional absentee ballots,” Yin said. “It’s often said that every vote counts, but if Cuomo’s late-night executive order were allowed to stand, those votes literally will not be counted.”
“Our campaign has spent significant amounts of time and money reaching out to voters of all types, including Democrats, Republicans, and independents,” said Dao Yin, a community activist, businessman, and candidate for Queens Borough President. “For Governor Cuomo to change the rules of the game at the last minute in order to benefit his cronies is an outrage.”
The office of Queens Borough President has been filled by an unelected official, Sharon Lee, since January 6, 2020, when Melinda Katz, the prior Queens Borough President, was sworn in as District Attorney for Queens County. Pursuant to the New York City Charter, The Special Election was designed to fill the office with an elected leader through the end of 2020.
Other political leaders have also taken a stand against Governor Cuomo’s unlawful attempt to meddle into the election for Queens Borough President.
“Governor Cuomo’s unlawful cancellation of the Special Election would leave an unelected bureaucrat as Queens Borough President while Queens is being ravaged by the Coronavirus outbreak,” said Michael Zumbluskas, a candidate for State Senate and the President of the East Side Independence Club. “The residents of Queens deserve better.”
Dao Yin remains on the ballot for the Democratic primary for Queens Borough President and which is still scheduled to occur on June 23. Unlike the special election, however, the primary will not result in an elected official to fill the vacancy until January of 2021. Jim Quinn, the other candidate who has challenged Cuomo’s executive order, will be out of the race entirely if Cuomo’s edict is allowed to stand.
“I’m on the ballot for Queens Borough President either way,” said Yin, “but calling out Governor Cuomo’s transparent power grab is the right thing to do.”
Dao Yin was particularly stunned by the Governor’s decision, given that Cuomo was born and raised in Queens.
“Queens is struggling and has been the hardest-hit borough in the City, with nearly 50,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus,” said Dao Yin. “Cuomo is denying the voters of Queens their right to representation during these tragic times. I am stunned that Cuomo can disenfranchise the entire Borough, when he was born and raised right here in Queens.”
Cuomo issued the executive order late in the evening on Friday, April 24 without any prior public discussion or comment. To this day, Cuomo has still yet to articulate the reasons behind his sudden decision to cancel the Special Election.
“The inside baseball here is that, Cuomo’s actions are designed to manipulate the election,” said Aaron Foldenauer, Dao Yin’s attorney. “Without a Special Election, only registered Democrats will be eligible to vote for the next Queens Borough President, thus helping the Queens Machine and leaving approximately 450,000 Queens voters without the right to choose the person to lead the Borough during these challenging times.”
Dao Yin pointed out the unique need for strong leadership in Queens given that Queens has been the hardest-hit borough in the City from the Coronavirus.
“Queens is in a crisis. Our hospitals are overwhelmed. This election on June 23 is the first chance for the people to actually have their voice heard as to how all residents of Queens can turn the corner on this crisis,” said Yin.
As Dao Yin’s attorney further pointed out, Governor Cuomo’s history of gamesmanship with respect to Special Elections further demonstrates the illegality of Governor Cuomo’s attempt to meddle in the election for Queens Borough President.
“This is an illegal order, and courts have rejected Governor Cuomo’s previous attempts to manipulate special elections,” said Foldenauer. “When Cuomo refused to schedule a special election following the resignation of Congressman Michael Grimm, a federal judge concluded that Governor Cuomo's 'unjustified delay in filling a vacancy cannot be countenanced.' "
“Furthermore, this is a not a State election, but rather, is a City election and which was called by the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio,” said Foldenauer. “Governor Cuomo, as a state official, does not have the authority to cancel the Special Election for Queens Borough President.”
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Born and raised in China, Dao Yin is a first-generation immigrant to the United States. Dao Yin has been a Community Activist in Queens for nearly two decades. His experience in the fields of finance, technology, and accounting makes him uniquely qualified to become the next Queens Borough President.
More information about Dao Yin and his policies can be found at http://www.daoyin.nyc/.
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