Cuomo Circumvents Legislature to Restore Felon Voting Rights in NY

Jan. 17 2017 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo releases his proposed state budget during a news conference at the Executive Mansion in Albany N.Y

In a New York Magazine article published Sunday, Nixon said Cuomo "had a lot of big Republican donors who wanted the marriage issue to go away because they thought it was making the party look bad". He said her campaign seems to be focused very much downstate in the city, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley.

Barone said he was contacted by the governor's office shortly before the executive order was signed. New Jersey Democrats are pushing forward legislation on the issue and Florida voters will consider a ballot initiative in November to automatically restore the voting rights of certain felons after they complete their sentences, including probation and parole.

Pace Law School professor Bennett Gersham says in an election year, the move could be perceived as a political decision, but it's one he believes is right for the people.

"We are all human beings and those who have spent time in prison, when they are released from prison, should be treated like human beings and at some point in time [they] should have all their rights restored, including the right to vote", Elmore said.

Criminal justice advocates praised Cuomo's action.

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NY gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon took a swipe at incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo during an appearance on "The Late Show" Wednesday.

"I'm unwilling to take no for an answer", Cuomo said, after state Republicans blocked the measure.

This executive action will reverse New York's current disenfranchisement of individuals released from prison who are under post-release community supervision. We don't buy the governor's new song-and-dance routine.

Republicans, meanwhile, ripped the order.

New York Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is opposed. It basically says there's no need for a Legislature whatsoever.

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"They've done their time and they should be allowed the same rights as everyone else", Sherry Pratt, of Colonie, said.

He singled out Herman Bell, a cop killer who was recently granted parole - as did Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, the front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, who accused Cuomo of being a dictator.

That list will be updated each month, with each parolee 'given consideration for a conditional pardon that will restore voting rights without undue delay, ' according to the order.

Cuomo's executive order would require the commissioner of the state's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to submit a list of every felon now on parole, as well as a list of those newly eligible for parole, beginning May 1, said Alphonso David, the governor's counsel. A dozen disenfranchise voters even after that, too.

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