Gov. Cuomo announced he will issue an executive order pardoning felons on parole in a move to restore voting rights to more than 35,000 New Yorkers.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dave Sanders for The New York Times
Currently, there are 6.1 million Americans that cannot vote because of a felony conviction. This week, Governor Cuomo is taking steps to reduce that number in New York. He announced his plans to use his power to pardon felons on parole, effectively restoring the voting rights to more than 35,000 people.
Governor Cuomo has tried and failed in the past to pass legislation through the New York State legislature to restore voting rights to felons. This time, he is “unwilling to take no for an answer.”
“I’m going to make it law by executive order. With active intervention, we can bend the arc toward justice." ~ Governor Cuomo via NY Times
The law in New York currently bars convicted felons from voting unless they are on probation or have completed parole. Gov. Cuomo would essentially be sidestepping this law by issuing pardons to every current felon on parole as well as every new felon who enters the parole system each month.
With this new plan, New York will effectively join 18 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing parolees to vote. There are 14 states that automatically restore felons’ rights when they are paroled and two never remove them in the first place.
This is a victory for civil rights and will further help the formerly incarcerated re-enter society.