Cuomo giving parolees right to vote via executive order

Cuomo giving parolees right to vote via executive order
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday signed an executive order giving all parolees in New York the right to vote.

The move comes after he noted that the New York Legislature voted down such a measure.

The executive order, effective immediately, restores the voting rights of 35,000 individuals currently on parole in New York.

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"I'm going to make it law by executive order," Cuomo said during a speech to the National Action Network’s annual conference.

"It is unconscionable to deny voting rights to New Yorkers who have paid their debt and have re-entered society,” he 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.”

According to the statement, people on probation never lose the right to vote in New York. However, county election officials often fail to distinguish between people on parole and those on prohibition, leading numerous people to be illegally disenfranchised.

Cuomo points out that the executive order is the latest part of his overall push to make sweeping criminal justice reform.

The two-term governor is currently in an increasingly competitive battle for the governor's mansion.

Actress Cynthia Nixon launched a challenge from the left for the Democratic nomination last month, accusing Cuomo of being too much of a centrist.

Cuomo currently leads Nixon by more than 30 points, according to a Siena College poll, but Nixon has narrowed Cuomo’s lead by 16 points in less than one month.

This story was updated at 2:19 p.m.