May 5, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2021
Nick Encalada-Malinowski, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOCAL-NY Statement on Gov. Cuomo Signing Bill to Codify Voting Rights For All Formerly Incarcerated People
ALBANY, N.Y. — Today, Governor Cuomo signed S830/A4448 into law codifying voting rights for people on parole who had been barred from voting due to Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement laws. This is a big win that VOCAL-NY has been fighting for for over a decade.
“It’s so great that this bill that we fought for for so long has passed. This means that the people in my community can now vote and be heard in the community instead of being denied because they were on parole. When I came home from prison I was told I would never be able to vote again. That was a lie, but I didn’t know. I eventually was able to register after my parole ended, but I couldn’t vote for several years. Now that won’t happen to anyone again and everyone with a record or who is on parole can vote right away. That’s great,” said Marilyn Reyes, Board Member of VOCAL-NY.
A 2018 executive order had given the Governor authority to provide discretionary pardons for the purpose of voting, but this was a temporary and incomplete fix. This legislative change clarifies that everyone who is in the community (and is 18 years old and a citizen) is eligible to vote by law. Importantly people in prison are still prohibited from voting — a legacy of Jim Crow and an indication of the racist voting laws still guiding this country — which must be challenged and changed immediately.