A bill extending voting rights to people on parole is heading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk after state lawmakers gave the measure final approval on Wednesday.
The measure was approved Wednesday morning in the Democratic-led state Assembly; it passed in the Democratic-controlled state Senate earlier this year.
“Preventing citizens on parole from exercising their constitutional right to vote is a significant barrier to full reintegration,” said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, the chairwoman of the chamber's Election Law Committee. “Too often members of our communities, who are on parole, are disenfranchised for years during supervision and never register to vote when they become eligible simply because they do not know they have become eligible. This bill restores the right to vote upon release from incarceration to help these individuals fully reintegrate and ensure they do not become permanently disenfranchised.”
The measure is on the verge of becoming law three years after Cuomo in 2018 signed an executive order to restore voting rights to people on parole. At the time, Cuomo pointed to the laws barring people on parole supervision being disproportionately people of color.
“The Assembly Majority knows that voting is a fundamental right of our democracy and is an integral part of community and civic engagement,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “This legislation would end the disenfranchisement of people who are actively working to rehabilitate themselves and reengage with their communities and public life.