On Wednesday, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced that he plans to allow paroled felons to vote again. If everything goes as planned, 35,000 people will have their voting rights restored.
Cuomo’s plan is highly unusual, as he plans to fend off the opposition to his criminal justice reforms in the GOP-controlled state Senate. Under the proposed reform, all felons on parole in New York will be given “given consideration for a conditional pardon.” Cuomo also plans to consider pardon for new felons every month, as they get convicted.
The governor unveiled the move Wednesday at the National Action Network’s yearly gathering. He also unveiled that he had pushed for laws to restore paroles voting rights, but without success.
“I’m unwilling to take no for an answer. I’m going to make it law by executive order,
Cuomo said about the new proposal.
Felons’ Voting Rights to Be Restored Without Delay
Later, the governor’s office explained that Cuomo had unveiled the plan during the budget negotiations, but lawmakers blocked it. Under the upcoming executive order, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision will have to make lists of all paroled felons across the state starting May 1.
The lists will be updated each month, so that newly convicted felons on parole could be given consideration for the pardon that will restore their voting rights. Cuomo wants the rights restored “without undue delay.” However, the pardon will not clear felons’ criminal records or restore other types or rights.
The New York governor is not the first governor to come with such proposal. Eighteen other states, including D.C., have enabled paroled felons to cast a ballot. In 14 states, voting rights are automatically restored when the felon is paroled.
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