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Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order To Restore Voting Rights To New Yorkers On Parole

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order to restore voting rights to individuals on parole. This reform will restore the right to vote upon release from incarceration and reverse disenfranchisement for thousands of New Yorkers. Parole voting restrictions have a disproportionate impact on New Yorkers of color, with African Americans and Hispanic New Yorkers comprising 71 percent of the population so disenfranchised. Civic engagement is linked to reduced recidivism and this action will promote access to the democratic process and improve public safety for all New Yorkers. The executive order is available here

"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," Governor Cuomo said. "This reform will reduce disenfranchisement and will help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process. Withholding or delaying voting rights diminishes our democracy."

The governor's office says this action will reverse New York's current disenfranchisement of individuals released from prison who are under post-release community supervision. New York joins fourteen other states and the District of Columbia that restore the right to vote upon release from incarceration. There are roughly 35,000 individuals currently on parole in New York who cannot vote. These individuals are participants in society at large, despite the limitations placed on them by parole conditions. They work, pay taxes, and support their families, and they should be permitted to express their opinions about the choices facing their communities through their votes, just as all citizens do.

Additionally, the current law keeping people on parole supervision from voting is internally inconsistent with New York's approach to voting for people serving sentences of probation. People on probation never lose the right to vote, but many county election officials are unclear about the distinction between those on parole and those on probation, often resulting in illegal disenfranchisement.

A 2006 Brennan Center study reported that one-third of all New York counties incorrectly barred people on probation from registering to vote, while another third of all counties illegally made individuals show proof of their voter eligibility status.

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KReed    213

Except they have in fact not "paid their debt" and are still serving their sentences under supervision of Parole Officers. 

And probation is not the same as parole.  

Probationers are typically first time offenders with non-violent misdemeanors. Parolees are felons who are eligible to be released after serving 2/3 of their sentence.


William H. Spengler was on parole when he became the excuse Cuomo used to push through the SAFE act. He'd served 17 of his 25 year sentence (for killing his grandmother with a hammer) and was released on parole. Then he illegally made a straw purchase, murdered his sister, started a fire and gunned down the firefighters who responded.

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Hal    146

Okay , would it not be great to use his own words against him and have him deported ?! I mean he is by his own admission “ undocumented “ of course he is wrong in this statement as per usual just pandering for downstate votes . 

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