New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday granting 35,000 paroled felons the right to vote. This decision by the second term Democrat came in the wake of state Republicans blocking the bill in the state Senate.
“I’m unwilling to take no for an answer,” Cuomo said at the annual convention of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York City. “I’m going to make it law by executive order.”
This move by New York makes it on the list of 14 other states along with the District of Columbia that allow felons to vote in elections after serving their sentence.
“It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“This reform will reduce disenfranchisement and will help restore justice and fairness to our democratic process. Withholding or delaying voting rights diminishes our democracy.”
The governor also noted that nearly three-fourths of the parolees in New York are black or Latino. The governor believes this executive order will help them reconnect with the community.
Across the aisle, Republicans are ready to pounce on Cuomo over the new measure. Senate Leader John Flanagan said Wednesday that the order was bad public policy and could potentially be illegal because the governor ignored the legislature.
Chairman of the state GOP Party, Ed Cox, called the directive an “outrageous power grab” in a bid to appeal to “radical primary voters,” according to the New York Times.
Cuomo is very aware that he will be facing a tough primary challenge from “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon. She has repeatedly attacked the governor from the left for failing to support minorities in the state.