New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed S.830B into law, which restores voting rights to parolees, post-incarceration.
“While states across the country attempt to further restrict access to the ballot, New York is progressing, reversing its history of antiquated voting laws thanks to years of dedicated work by advocates and affected communities. The state legislature passing this bill, and the Governor ultimately signing it, are crucial steps in that movement. Automatically restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals will be enormously consequential for thousands of New Yorkers now able to more fully participate in and determine the direction of their communities. This law also aids in informing newly eligible people that their rights have been restored, educating and empowering would-be voters.
“It’s not enough to catch up, however. We need to advance – to extend voting rights to incarcerated New Yorkers, as states like Vermont and Maine already have, and provide greater access to the ballot to people inside prisons and jails pretrial. While politicians across the country are engaged in a systematic effort to limit the voice and voting power of communities of more color, we must do all we can in New York to end a pattern of over-incarceration and underrepresentation.”