Council Member Fernando Cabrera’s Legislation to Ensure Voter Rights to Eligible Justice Involved Persons Considered by NYC Council Governmental Operations And Criminal Justice Committees

Council Member Fernando Cabrera’s Legislation to Ensure Voter Rights to Eligible Justice Involved Persons Considered by NYC Council Governmental Operations And Criminal Justice Committees

 Bronx, NY- Council Member Fernando Cabrera’s Int. No. 1115-2018 was considered in a joint hearing of the City Council’s Committees on Governmental Operations and Criminal Justice.  Introduced on September 26th, Cabrera’s bill requires measures that will ensure that formerly incarcerated persons whose voter rights have been restored are informed and assisted with voter registration.

“This is a pro-democracy bill that promotes justice will and civic participation by ensuring that ex-offenders whose voter rights have been restored are made aware of this and assisted with the voter registration process,” said Cabrera.  “This is long overdue.  State law permits voting for probationers and those who have completed a prison sentence.  But too often these individuals don’t know this and the end result is that they are excluded from exercising their right to vote.”

 

Int. No. 1115-2018 was heard in a joint hearing of the Committee on Governmental Operations, chaired by Cabrera, and the Committee on Criminal Justice, as part of a package of three bills that address the de facto disenfranchisement of justice involved individuals due to miseducation, lack of information and assistance.  The bill requires the Voter Assistance Advisory Committee to develop and distribute guidance on the voting rights of formerly incarcerated persons for agencies that conduct voter registration.   It further requires these agencies when requested by a formerly incarcerated person interested in filling out a voter registration form, to check publicly available information to inform the person if their right to register and vote has been restored.   As chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, Cabrera oversees the New York City Board of Elections and a number of other municipal agencies that are central to the fundamental structure and organization of New York City government.

“The tremendous confusion about who can vote creates further and unnecessary disenfranchisement.  Regaining the right to vote, along with facilitating voter registration supports civil rights, participation in civic life and democracy.  Making sure that justice involved individuals  know they can register and vote is a major part of their reintegration into the community. We need everyone who is eligible to participate in democracy through the voting process,” said Cabrera.

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