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Originally published: April 19, 2018

Calls on Legislature to Codify Reform Into Law

Citizens Union commends Governor Cuomo for signing Executive Order 181, restoring the right to vote to the tens of thousands of New Yorkers currently on parole.  Denying the right to vote to New Yorkers who are living and working in their communities is unjust.

With this Executive Order, New York joins the 16 other states and District of Columbia that automatically allow people to vote upon release from incarceration. Finally, New Yorkers on parole will no longer be silenced at the polls, a practice that has had a far greater impact on black and Latino communities throughout the state. Automatic restoration not only expands and diversifies the pool of eligible voters, but also is a significant step away from the historic dispossession of New Yorkers of color.

However, an Executive Order that can be rescinded by future administrations is not enough. Citizens Union calls on the Legislature to immediately codify this important policy into law, as the other 16 states and D.C. have done.

“We congratulate the Governor on restoring the right to vote to more than 35,000 New Yorkers who had been denied from participating in our democracy. This is a significant step forward in our continual fight to reform New York’s outdated voting and justice systems,” said Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum.

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