Cuomo Revives Felon Voting Debate by Allowing Parolees to Vote

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the National Action Network’s convention where he announced he would sign the executive order allowing parolees to vote
Source: Sam Levine, “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Is Restoring Voting Rights to Felons on Parole,” huffingtonpost.com, Apr. 18, 2018

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) weighed in on the felon voting debate by issuing an executive order on Apr. 18, 2018 establishing a process to allow felony parolees to vote. There are approximately 35,000 people on parole in New York whose ability to vote could be restored.

On a monthly basis, beginning on May 1, 2018, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will submit a list of individuals recently released from prison on parole to the Governor’s Office. Each person on the list will have their records reviewed to determine if they will have their voting privileges restored.

Upon signing the executive order, Cuomo stated: “I am issuing an executive order giving parolees the right to vote. It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society. This reform will reduce disenfranchisement and will help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process. Withholding or delaying voting rights diminishes our democracy.”

New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R), stated: “It’s ridiculous public policy. It’s bad public policy. It circumvents the law… And I think it’s just absolutely horrible. The Governor wants to provide pardons to up to thirty-five thousand felons. Felons. I’m not talking about people who steal a loaf of bread or jaywalking or something like this. He said, ‘I’m tired of waiting. I’m not going to take no for an answer. I’m doing this on my own.’ That is horrific and the taxpayers should be absolutely outraged.”

Cynthia Nixon, a former actress famous for her role on Sex and the City and a Democrat against whom Cuomo is running in the New York governor’s race, tweeted: “We don’t buy the Governor’s new song-and-dance routine. Voter suppression in New York should have ended eight years go, from the rights of parolees to access to early voting and automatic registration.”

New York joins 14 other states and DC in allowing convicted felons who have served their sentences to vote before parole is completed. Two states allow convicted felons to vote from prison; three restore voting rights after completion of parole; 20 allow voting after completion of parole and probation; and in 10 states people with felony convictions may permanently lose their vote.

There are an estimated 6.1 million felons in the United States who cannot vote due to their felony convictions.


Sources:

Kwegyirba Croffie, “New York Gov. Cuomo Gives Parolees the Right to Vote in His State,” cnn.com, Apr. 18, 2018

Andrew Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order to Restore Voting Rights to New Yorkers on Parole,” governor.ny.gov, Apr. 18, 2018

lohud.com, “Senate Republican Leader Blasts Cuomo’s Parolee Voting Order,” lohud.com, Apr. 18, 2018

Lukas Mikelionis, “New York Gov. Cuomo Grants 35,000 Paroled Felons Right to Vote; GOP Sees ‘Power Grab,'” foxnews.com, Apr. 18, 2018

Cynthia Nixon, Twitter post, twitter.com, Apr. 18, 2018

State of New York, “Executive Order No. 181,” governor.ny.gov, Apr. 18, 2018

Jane C. Timm, “Cuomo Restores Voting Rights to All 35,000 Parolees in New York,” nbcnews.com, Apr. 18, 2018

Vivian Wang, “Cuomo Plans to Restore Voting Rights to Paroled Felons,” nytimes.com, Apr. 18, 2018