When I think about all of the issues that plague our democracy, one that makes me especially angry is felony disenfranchisement. It’s absurd.
In the year 2021, New Yorkers who have fully completed their prison sentences and reentered their communities face needless hurdles to casting their ballots. These are people who pay taxes, provide for their families, and contribute to society just like you and me.
It’s not only a violation of the principle of one person, one vote — these laws are deeply racist. Laws disenfranchising people with past convictions are Jim Crow era relics designed to deny voting rights to Black men, and they still have a disproportionate effect on people of color today.
Luckily, we have a few sensible lawmakers up in Albany trying to remedy this. Bill S.830/A.4448, which was introduced into the New York State Legislature earlier this year, would automatically restore the voting rights of formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. If passed, this reform would permanently reenfranchise tens of thousands of voters.
I’m calling on the New York State Legislature to pass this legislation as soon as possible. This crucial reform can’t wait.
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One fine body…