New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law that will automatically restore voting rights for people upon being released from prison, codifying a practice that has been in place since 2018, when the governor issued an executive order allowing people on parole to have their voting rights restored with his approval, reports CBS News. More than 67,000 New Yorkers released on parole had their voting rights restored. While Cuomo’s executive order has enabled him to restore voting rights for people on parole for the last three years, advocates for the new law say it was important to codify the practice, partly because it would remove the discretionary ability for any of his successors to deny voting rights to parolees.
It also simplifies the process and ensures there’s no delay between a person’s release from prison and the restoration of the right to vote. When Cuomo announced his executive order, Black and Hispanic New Yorkers accounted for 71 percent of the people disenfranchised because of their parole status. Eighteen other states, in addition to New York and Washington, restore voting rights or felons upon their release from incarceration, according to the Brennan Center. Two states, Maine and Vermont, do not disenfranchise people with criminal convictions. The remaining states have various standards for when voting rights are restored.