Brabenec rips proposal to let inmates vote

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec grabbed the driver from his rhetorical golf bag on Wednesday after a Democratic senator from Brooklyn introduced a bill that would allow jail and prison inmates to register to vote and cast ballots while behind bars.

The proposal by Sen. Kevin Parker would eliminate a section of state law that prohibits felons from registering or voting until their maximum sentence has expired or until their parole has ended. It also would require the state to establish a program to facilitate inmate registration and voting by absentee ballot or other method. For voting purposes, inmates would be considered residents of the places they lived before they were locked up.

No senators co-sponsored the bill and no Assembly version was filed. It can’t be taken up until after lawmakers return to Albany in January for their next session.

Brabenec, a Deerpark Republican, bludgeoned the bill with a press release the same day it was filed, casting it as the latest bad idea by “New York City radicals” in the Legislature.

“Sen. Kevin Parker should be ashamed of himself for using taxpayer money to have this ridiculous, illegal and disgraceful idea manufactured into a bill,” he said. “Anyone who supports giving locked up rapists, pedophiles and murderers the right to vote needs to have their head examined.

“One thing has become abundantly clear, New York City radicals are turning their efforts to the only groups who could possibly still support them – illegal aliens, prison inmates and criminals.”

A memo that accompanies the bill argues that “preventing those with felony convictions from voting is a manuever to disempower black voters,” and says the proposal aims to fight “felony disenfranchisement” and “facilitate an earlier transition back into society.”

“All New Yorkers should be able to exercise their foundational American right of voting,” the memo stated.

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