Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NY Gov. Restores Voting to Parolees by Executive Order

This morning, I attended the opening of Reverend Al Sharpton's 2018 National Action Network (NAN) National Convention. I have been going to this Event for awhile.

During the Opening Ceremonies, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an Executive Order to Restore the Right to Vote to over 35,000 New Yorkers, all People On Parole, ending a Reconstruction-era Provision intended to bar Black Men from the Ballot.

That’s why we call it the National ACTION Network. said Sharpton.

The Order:

• The Right to Vote will be Granted to all New Yorkers who are currently on Parole.

• The State will begin Notifying Individuals of the Restoration of their Right to Vote upon Release from Prison.

• Individuals Released from Prison will be provided with a Voter Registration Form.

NAN and the Brennan Center have been leading a Coalition called #RestoretheVoteNY to make sure that this Initiative gets Passed in the New York State Legislature. But it Failed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

People have been fighting for a Voice in our Democracy since the Founding of our Country. However, under Current New York Law we still Explicitly Strip Voting Rights from Full Citizens of our State. Individuals who are on Parole are by Law Prohibited from Voting. New York does, however, allow Individuals on Probation to Vote. There is No Reason for this Distinction between Probation and Parole. All Citizens living in the Community should be Allowed to Vote, for their School Board, for their City Council, for their Representatives in Albany and Washington. Moreover, the Distinction has caused Widespread Confusion among both Formerly Incarcerated People and Election Officials. Finally, and significantly, the Disenfranchisement of People on Parole Disproportionately affects People of Color.

• 34,153 New Yorkers on Parole were Disenfranchised as of 2016, not considering those that receive Certificates of Good Conduct or Release From Disability.

• A 2006 Brennan Center Survey Found that over a Third of New York's Local Boards of Elections were Unaware that New Yorkers on Probation were Eligible to Vote.

• States that are more Diverse almost always Disenfranchise Parolees. 16 States and D.C. allow People on Parole to Vote; many of them are among the Whitest States in the Country.

• Nearly Three-Quarters of Disenfranchised New Yorkers are African American or Latino.

o One out of every 24 Black Voters in New York is Disenfranchised.
o This is no Accident: As discussed in the 2010 Brennan Center Report Jim Crow in New York, New York's Disenfranchisement Policy is firmly rooted in Historical Racism.

Executive Order 181

I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by the power vested in me by the laws and the Constitution of the State of New York, do hereby order and direct as follows:

From this date forward, individuals being released from incarceration onto parole supervision and individuals who are currently under parole supervision will be given consideration for a conditional pardon that will restore voting rights without undue delay.

Effective immediately, the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision shall submit a record of individuals who are currently under parole supervision to the Governor’s Office. Beginning May 1, 2018, the Commissioner shall submit a monthly record of individuals who have been released from prison onto parole supervision in the prior month. Each individual on the eligible list will be reviewed to determine whether he or she will be granted a pardon that will restore voting rights.

Notwithstanding this executive order, offenders may still apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities for a restoration of citizenship rights pursuant to New York Correction Law Article 23. All applications, unless withdrawn, will be processed according to the procedures set forth in New York Correction Law.

The pardons following this executive order, and all future restorations of voting rights, shall not include rights with respect to the receipt, transportation, or possession of firearms as provided by New York State Penal Law Section 400, nor shall it relieve an individual of any unpaid restitution, fine, or other financial obligation resulting from a conviction, nor shall it restore the right to hold public office, nor shall the order cause the underlying conviction to be sealed.

This executive order, and all future restorations of voting rights, shall not be construed as a remission of guilt or forgiveness of the offense and shall not function as a bar to greater penalties for future offenses. Nothing in the executive order shall be construed to contravene any applicable state or federal law.

G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this eighteenth day of April in the year two thousand eighteen.


However, an Executive Order that can be Rescinded by Future Administrations is not enough. Citizens Union calls on the Legislature to immediately Codify this important Policy into Law, as the other 16 States and D.C. have done.

CLICK HERE for more information about NAN.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: