WASHINGTON, D.C. — The New York State Senate Corrections Committee on Monday advanced a new measure to reform the state’s felon disenfranchisement laws. Bill S. 830-B would allow New Yorkers convicted of a felony to vote after their release from incarceration, amending the previous requirement that individuals must receive a gubernatorial pardon or meet a series of other parole and sentence-length qualifications in order to regain their right to vote.
The bill also requires state courts to inform felony defendants that their convictions will result in the loss of their right to vote while serving their sentence and that such declaration must be made before any guilty plea is entered. Upon release, former inmates will also be sent a notification in writing informing them that they are again eligible to vote.
Voting rights advocates like the Civil Rights Campaign applauded the move on Monday, calling it a much-needed reform “in this moment of heightened awareness of explicit voter suppression tactics across the country.” The bill will next move to the floor of the state Senate and state Assembly.