Brooklyn Boro

OPINION: Voter registration for inmates is a step in the right direction

August 9, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Photo courtesy of Cagle Cartoons
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With the primary elections looming, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that the city will launch a voter registration drive to help incarcerated individuals exercise their right to vote.

The city will facilitate direct pick-up and delivery of voter registration forms and absentee ballots, bypassing the jail mailing system to ensure timely delivery of paperwork.

“Voting access must be expanded and protected in our city. That applies to everyone, including people in custody,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This initiative will help more incarcerated New Yorkers participate in our democracy and have their voices heard.”

DOC Commissioner Cynthia Brann said her department has a “duty” to meet the constitutional rights of the Rikers detainees — including the right to vote.

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“Even though most people in our custody are here only a short time, it is our duty to help them by ensuring that they have appropriate access to the electoral process,” Brann said. “Reminding the incarcerated that their vote matters is a powerful way of reinforcing their ties to our community and is just as important as the many job training and re-entry programs we offer every day.”

We agree with Commissioner Brann that the jails have an obligation to make certain that inmates awaiting trials have access to the voting process, even if they are awaiting trial on murder charges.


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