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Measure would restore voting rights to New Yorkers upon release from prison

Apr 16, 2021 5:45 am

Ariana Jimenez is reporting for the Legislative Gazette under new legislation approved April 14, by the state Senate, the right to vote would be restored to formerly incarcerated people in New York immediately upon release from prison. The corresponding Assembly bill sponsored by Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell is on its third reading. Under the measure, people would not have to wait until they have reached the final date of their sentence to register to vote or to vote in an election. “There’s a need for people who have been formerly incarcerated to reintegrate into society in every way possible,” said O’Donnell. “Other parts of the United States have begun to restore voting rights. Parole is a tough thing to survive. While you are living in the community and living the law-abiding life, the right to participate in the democracy of voting should not be impeded.” O’Donnell’s bill would permanently restore the vote to individuals released on parole and require officials to give newly eligible voters an opportunity to register upon release. Under existing New York law, those people convicted of felonies who have been released from prison cannot vote while they are under community supervision unless they have had the right restored by a certificate of relief, a certificate of good conduct, or a pardon from the governor Deputy Director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, Sean Morales Doyle, said, “New Yorkers who have been released from prison are working, paying taxes, and raising families, but they have no voice in their government. Today’s Senate vote brings them a step closer to regaining that voice.” Read the full story in the Legislative Gazette.

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