Parolees Can Vote in the Primary - after 7pm

Sheriff Howard: "This is totally ridiculous"

AP Photo


Albany, N.Y. (WBEN) -  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order earlier this year to allow 24,000 parolees to vote in upcoming elections after 7pm.  That initiative will be on display for the first time Thursday as parolees, including sex offenders, head to the polls.

Assemblyman Ray Walter of Amherst is warning parents.  "I think parents need to be aware of it, school administrators need to be aware of it, and election officials need to be aware of it, and remove kids from after-school and athletic activities".

Back in May, Governor Cuomo issued the blanket pardon, giving 24,000 parolees the right to vote.  State law generally bars sex offenders from appearing on school grounds. The State Department of Corrections created a special condition that allows paroled sex offenders to vote at a polling place in a school after getting permission from his or her parole officer and a school administrator.

There are 66 schools in Erie County that serve as polling places.  Walter says that's a concern for anybody who has to vote at those schools.  "It's a misguided policy by the Governor that was rushed through for obvious political purposes to give them the right to vote before their debt to society has been paid".

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard called it a totally ridiculous idea.  "We discourage alcoholics from going into a liquor store or bar, yet we're suggesting that it's ok for sex offenders to go to an area that's is predominantly occupied by their victims" said Howard.

The Sheriff questions why this came down by executive order and thinks it changes the whole foundation of the criminal justice system, which compels good behavior and discourages bad behavior.  "I can't help but think the Governor wouldn't have done this, if he didn't think it wouldn't benefit him".

The parolees would have to be registered to vote.  Howard says he expects his deputies will be paying closer attention to schools than normal on Thursday.   




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