May 19 (UPI) -- A three-judge panel in New York City ruled Tuesday the state of New York must stage its Democratic presidential primary next month, rejecting arguments that it should be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the electoral contest must be held on June 23.
The panel sided with attorneys for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Andrew Yang, both former candidates who argued the primary is still needed -- even though former Vice President Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee.
Sanders and Yang said the contest will allow them to secure enough delegates to have an influence on the party's platform and rules during the Democratic National Convention this summer.
"We have reviewed all of the remaining arguments raised by defendants on appeal and find them to be without merit," the judges wrote in the decision.
The decision reaffirmed a ruling by District Court judge Analisa Torres this month that said the state must hold its primary. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had moved the primary from April 28 to June 23 because of the health crisis.
The New York Board of Elections canceled the primary with the blessing of the state Democratic Party. Board co-Chair Douglas Kellner said Tuesday there will be no further appeal.
"[We will] focus all of our attention on the daunting tasks of managing the primary election in a way that minimizes the risks to the public and to election workers," Kellner said in a statement.