ALBANY – Last night, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to permanently and automatically restore the right of people on parole to vote in all elections
In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement from executive director Donna Lieberman:
“Today, New York ends a racist vestige of Jim Crow by ensuring New Yorkers on parole can exercise our most fundamental and sacred right.
“Decades of the war on drugs and broken windows policing have led to the disproportionate mass incarceration of Black and Latinx New Yorkers, who, on release from prison, are the vast majority of people on parole. Disenfranchising people on parole has been overwhelmingly about disenfranchising people of color. This systemic injustice has roots in our state’s white supremacist history and has, across generations, suppressed the participation of Black and Latinx New Yorkers in the most fundamental aspect of democracy: voting.
“Denying access to the ballot hasn’t been just wrong and racist; it flies in the face of evidence. Civic engagement after re-entry correlates with lower recidivism, improved community safety, and better outcomes for people on parole. Ending the regime of voter suppression for people on parole is the right thing to do. It is good for democracy and for public safety – and it’s long overdue.”