New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1236-2020    Version: * Name: Ensure all people in custody have the right to vote and require the DOC and Community Supervision to collaborate state and local board of elections to facilitate voter registration and voting among all incarcerated people. (S.6821)
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Justice System
On agenda: 2/11/2020
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign Senate Bill S6821, which would ensure all people in custody have the right to vote and require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to collaborate state and local board of elections to facilitate voter registration and voting among all incarcerated people.
Sponsors: The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams), Farah N. Louis, Ben Kallos
Council Member Sponsors: 3
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 1236, 2. February 11, 2020 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 2-11-20
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
2/11/2020*The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) City Council Referred to Comm by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/2020*The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) City Council Introduced by Council  Action details Meeting details Not available

Res. No. 1236

 

Resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign Senate Bill S6821, which would ensure all people in custody have the right to vote and require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to collaborate state and local board of elections to facilitate voter registration and voting among all incarcerated people.

 

By The Public Advocate (Mr. Williams) and Council Members Louis and Kallos

 

Whereas, A 2016 report from The Sentencing Project estimated that 6.1 million Americans are ineligible to vote as a result of felony disenfranchisement laws; and

Whereas, Even as a number of states have moved to extend voting rights to individuals on parole or probation and to those who have completed their sentence, people convicted of a felony remain disenfranchised while incarcerated; and

Whereas, New York is among the forty-eight states, as well as the District of Columbia, in which persons convicted of a felony lose their right to vote while incarcerated; and

Whereas, New York’s felony disenfranchisement law has a disparate effects on Latinx and Black people as a result of their disproportionate felony arrest and conviction rates driven in part by the over-policing of their communities; and

Whereas, As a result, felony disenfranchisement reduces the scale of the Latinx and Black electorates and the political impact of those communities; and  

Whereas, Vermont and Maine remain the only two states where incarcerated people, no matter what their conviction is for, do not lose their vote; and 

Whereas, The right to vote is a fundamental tenet of democracy and should not be denied to any incarcerated individuals; and

Whereas, S.6821 introduced by State Senator Kevin Parker would repeal section 5-106 of New York Election Law, which disenfranchises incarcerated people convicted of a felony, and would require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, in collaboration with the state and county board of election, to establish a program to facilitate voter registration and voting among all incarcerated people, which includes access and assistance with voter registration forms and a mechanism for voting, including absentee ballots; and

Whereas, Lawmakers in New Mexico, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia have all introduced legislation in 2019 that would ensure all people in custody have the right to vote; and

Whereas, A survey published by Laleh Ispahani in 2009 examining disenfranchisement in Europe found that seventeen European nations imposed no bar on incarcerated people voting; and

Whereas, The right of incarcerated people to vote has been affirmed in constitutional court decisions in Canada, South Africa, Israel, Australia, and Kenya; and

Whereas, Permitting incarcerated people to participate in the electoral process improves their chances of successful reentry as it allows them to foster meaningful and positive connections with institutions in their community; and, now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, Senate Bill S6821, which would ensure all ensure all people in custody have the right to vote and require the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to collaborate state and local board of elections to facilitate voter registration and voting among all incarcerated people

 

 

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