Posted on May 11, 2021

New York Gov. Cuomo Signs Bill That Automatically Restores Felons’ Right to Vote After Release

Taylor Romine and Chandelis Duster, CNN, May 6, 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill expanding felon voting rights on Tuesday, according to the state legislature, allowing for people on parole in the state to be eligible to vote as soon as they leave prison.

The law codifies a 2018 executive order that allowed for Cuomo to individually pardon parolees. According to the bill text, Department of Corrections officials are required to provide a voter registration form as the felon is leaving the facility. Previously, parolees would have to wait a period of four to six weeks to receive a pardon and then must register to vote on their own.


Democrats in the legislature praised Cuomo’s signage of the measure, including Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell who co-sponsored the legislation and said it “removes one more barrier to equal representation” in the state.

{snip} Sean Morales-Doyle, deputy director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, praised the law and said it makes clear that Americans of color “have a say in the elections that impact them and their families.”

{snip} “Due to the racial disparities in New York’s criminal justice system, nearly three-quarters of those disenfranchised by the ban on voting for people on parole were Black or Latino.”