May 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A second Queens borough president candidate has filed a lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo for cancelling the special election for the position.
Dao Yin, a Bayside businessman and community activist, filed suit against Cuomo in Queens Supreme Court Friday — hours after candidate and former prosecutor Jim Quinn sued Cuomo as well.
Both men hope the court will force Cuomo to reinstate the nonpartisan special election.
Quinn was knocked out of the race when Cuomo signed an executive order cancelling the special election late last month in favor of the primary election scheduled for the same day because he had only petitioned to run for the nonpartisan special election.
The special election was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic from its original March 24 date to June 23 — the same day as the Democratic primary. The governor then axed the special election altogether instead of having two separate elections for the same position on the same day — forcing Quinn off the ballot.
Yin is still on the ballot for the primary election, but decided to take legal action arguing that Cuomo’s executive order was an illegal abuse of power, he said.
“I’m on the ballot for Queens Borough President either way, but calling out Governor Cuomo’s transparent power grab is the right thing to do,” Yin said.
Yin said Cuomo’s decision to cancel the special election, which was nonpartisan, in favor of a Democratic primary for the position disenfranchises all voters who aren’t registered Democrats.
The order also trashes thousands of votes that were cast during the early voting period in March before the March 24 election date was cancelled.
“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,” Yin said.
“For Governor Cuomo to change the rules of the game at the last minute in order to benefit his cronies is an outrage,” he added.
Yin’s attorney said Cuomo was playing to the Queens Machine desires.
“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…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.”
The primary election next month will be followed by a general election for Queens borough president in November.
Acting Borough President Sharon Lee will remain in office through the end of the year and the winner of the November general election will take over on Jan 1, 2021.