Sex offenders will get to vote in local, state and federal elections in New York state under Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s voting restoration pardon policy.
Seventy-seven sexual predators, including pedophiles and rapists, will be affected by the conditional pardons as their time in state psychiatric hospitals come to an end, the New York Daily News reported Monday. The sexual abusers were sent to civic confinement within the hospitals after serving prison.
One of the rapists who was deemed too dangerous to be integrated into society after prison was Hector Aviles, 61, otherwise known as “voodoo rapist,” according to the New York Daily News. Aviles threatened “bad things” for victims and their families unless the victims engaged in sexual rituals with him.
Cuomo signed an executive order April 18 that would pardon people who lost the right to vote due to being on parole for felony. The first group of conditional pardons affects 24,086 people.
Seventy-one percent of African Americans and Hispanic New Yorkers make up the disenfranchised population due to parole status, according to the May 22 press release.
Individuals do not need to apply for the program as the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision provides a list of those under community supervision to the governor’s office, with the list updated periodically. Felons must be at least 18 years old, a New York state resident, convicted of a New York state felony, and must be under community supervision after serving prison in order to meet eligibility requirements for voting restoration pardon.
“The right to vote is fundamental and it is unconscionable to deny that basic right of citizenship to New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society,” Cuomo said, according to a May 22 press release. “Restoring a voice to men and women reentering their communities will strengthen our democracy, as well as the reentry process, which in-turn will help reduce recidivism.”
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican, lambasted the policy.
“This policy rewards the worst of the worst sexual predators and lowlifes in our society and undermines the integrity of our voting system in every way, shape and form,” Flanagan said, according to the New York Daily News.
Conditional pardons were supported by many Democrats, reformers and Cuomo supporters, Politico reported on April 18.
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