New York governor gives paroled felons right to vote by executive order

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [official website] signed an executive order [text, PDF] Wednesday that grants 35,000 paroled felons the right to vote.

The governor issued the order by invoking Article IV, Section 4 [text] of the Constitution of the State of New York authorizing the governor to grant pardons. The current order allows paroled felons to be considered for a conditional pardon that restores their voting rights. A list of individuals will be submitted to the governor’s office by the commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision [official website] and reviewed.

The governor clarified that a conditional pardon under this order does not restore rights regarding firearm possession, ability to run for public office, relieve any financial duties relating to a conviction, or seal the record of the conviction.

Cuomo reasoned that there are a great number of paroled New Yorkers who are active participants in their communities and should be allowed to voice opinions about issues concerning their communities. Cuomo also explained that the previous restriction on paroled individuals had a disproportionate racial impact that affected representation of minority populations in their communities.

The order further explained that being able to engage politically in the community and vote has a positive correlation with reduced recidivism rates and helps reintegrate individuals back into society.

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