This bill has been amended

Bill S2760-2011

Relates to voting and registration for voting by convicted felons

Relates to voting and registration for voting by convicted felons; may vote if pardoned, such persons maximum sentence of imprisonment has expired, or such person is serving a term of parole, presumptive release, conditional release or post-release supervision.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • Feb 1, 2011: REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2760

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the election law and the executive law, in relation to voting by convicted felons

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This bill would restore voting rights to parolees, to facilitate community reintegration and participation in the civic process, rather than requiring a parolee to wait until he or she has been discharged from parole or reached the maximum expiration date of the sentence.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section one of the bill amends subdivision two of section 5-106 of the Election Law to restore voting rights to individuals who have been released to community supervision from New York state sentences imposed as a result of New York felony convictions. Election Law §5-106(2) bars a person convicted of a New York felony from voting or registering to vote, and also, as currently drafted, restores voting rights when the person is either discharged from parole or reaches the maximum expiration date of his or her sentence. This bill would restore voting rights while the person is serving the community supervision portion of the sentence, so that he or she can exercise the civic responsibility of voting. Sections two and three of the bill make similar changes to subdivisions three and four of EL§5-1 06, which deal respectively with federal felony convictions and felony convictions in other states.

Section 4 of the bill requires the Division of Parole to make voter registration forms available to parolees.

Section 5 of the bill is the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:

Under current law, a felony conviction imposes a variety of disabilities, including a bar to voting, and the voting bar may be removed only by discharge from, or completion of, the sentence as provided in the Election Law, or by issuance of a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct under Article 23 of the Correction Law. Certificates of relief and good conduct may be issued to relieve eligible offenders of a variety of different disabilities, and may be specifically limited to one or more enumerated forfeiture, disability or bar. See Correction Law §§701(1), 703-a(1). However, these certificates are not issued automatically, even for the limited purpose of restoring voting

rights, and some releasees supervised by the Division of Parole may not be eligible for certificates of good conduct until they meet statutory waiting periods. Thus, many, if not most, releasees cannot vote until after their periods of community supervision are over.

Parole is meant to help prevent recidivism and to rehabilitate and reinitiate a felon back into society. This rehabilitation is built on the offender's recognition of fault, taking responsibility for his or her behavior, and his or her effort to change. Preventing releasees from voting, and from exercising a constitutional right and a civic responsibility, is a barrier to full reintegration into society. It also continues to punish people who have already served the incarcerative parts of their sentences, and that part of their debt to society.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-10: S.4643/A.2445 (O'Donnell) Referred to Elections Committee

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately, except that section 4 shall take effect 120 days after becoming law, to give the Division of Parole time to implement section 4.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2760 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 1, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. HASSELL-THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law and the executive law, in relation to voting by convicted felons THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 5-106 of the election law, as amended by chapter 373 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows: 2. No person who has been convicted of a felony pursuant to the laws of this state, shall have the right to register for or vote at any election unless [he]: (I) SUCH PERSON shall have been pardoned or restored to the rights of citizenship by the governor, or [his] (II) SUCH PERSON'S maximum sentence of imprisonment has expired, or [he has been discharged from parole. The governor, however, may attach as a condition to any such pardon a provision that any such person shall not have the right of suffrage until it shall have been separately restored to him] (III) SUCH PERSON IS SERVING A TERM OF PAROLE, PRESUMPTIVE RELEASE, CONDITIONAL RELEASE OR POST-RELEASE SUPERVISION. S 2. Subdivision 3 of section 5-106 of the election law is amended to read as follows: 3. No person who has been convicted in a federal court, of a felony, or a crime or offense which would constitute a felony under the laws of this state, shall have the right to register for or vote at any election unless [he]: (I) SUCH PERSON shall have been pardoned or restored to the rights of citizenship by the president of the United States, or [his] (II) SUCH PERSON'S maximum sentence of imprisonment has expired, or [he has been discharged from parole] (III) SUCH PERSON IS SERVING A TERM OF PAROLE, PRESUMPTIVE RELEASE, CONDITIONAL RELEASE OR POST-RELEASE SUPER- VISION.
S 3. Subdivision 4 of section 5-106 of the election law is amended to read as follows: 4. No person who has been convicted in another state for a crime or offense which would constitute a felony under the laws of this state shall have the right to register for or vote at any election in this state unless [he]: (I) SUCH PERSON shall have been pardoned or restored to the rights of citizenship by the governor or other appropriate authority of such other state, or [his] (II) SUCH PERSON'S maximum sentence has expired, or [he has been discharged from parole] (III) SUCH PERSON IS SERVING A TERM OF PAROLE, PRESUMPTIVE RELEASE, CONDITIONAL RELEASE OR POST-RELEASE SUPERVISION. S 4. Section 259-a of the executive law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6-b to read as follows: 6-B. THE DIVISION SHALL HAVE THE DUTY TO PROVIDE VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS TO EVERY PERSON ON PAROLE, PRESUMPTIVE RELEASE, CONDITIONAL RELEASE OR POST-RELEASE SUPERVISION AT THE TIME SUCH PERSON IS RELEASED TO SUPERVISION OR AS SOON THEREAFTER AS PRACTICABLE. S 5. This act shall take effect immediately, provided, however, that section four of this act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law.

Comments

Open Legislation comments facilitate discussion of New York State legislation. All comments are subject to moderation. Comments deemed off-topic, commercial, campaign-related, self-promotional; or that contain profanity or hate speech; or that link to sites outside of the nysenate.gov domain are not permitted, and will not be published. Comment moderation is generally performed Monday through Friday.

By contributing or voting you agree to the Terms of Participation and verify you are over 13.

Discuss!

blog comments powered by Disqus