The Legal Aid Group convenes for voting rights for people incarcerated in prisons | Media Pyro

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The Legal Aid Society, a legal advocacy group in New York City, gathered outside the state Board of Elections (BOE) building to demand an easier way to vote for incarcerated people.

Advocates demanded that city officials open at least one polling place at Rikers Island, one of the city’s jails, or set up in-person voting.

Legal Aid said that under New York state law, “polling places for early elections must be located so that voters in the county have fair and reasonable access,” and that people who are incarcerated and lack of access to proper electoral processes. these rights were denied.

“Our clients and all those incarcerated at Rikers who are eligible to vote – 90 percent of the county’s prison population – have the right to vote and be able to vote early in the election time,” said Anthony Posada, managing attorney for the Community Law group at the Legal Aid Group on Nov. 1. “By not setting up early voting locations at these facilities, the BOE is eliminating all eligible voters. We call on the BOE to open these polling places as soon as possible so that our customers have a chance at democracy.”

New Yorkers who are incarcerated before trial, on parole, or serving a municipal sentence have the right to vote if they want, but according to Legal Aid This authority is denied because the BOE has not yet established early voting plans. .

Legal Aid and other advocacy groups have also noted that the lack of organized voting programs in the city’s jails reduces voting participation in communities of color, particularly Black and Brown communities. In NYC prisons, 88% of the population is Black and Brown.

“Our state laws protect the right to vote for New Yorkers incarcerated, and the Board of Elections has a responsibility to uphold that sacred right,” Cesar said. Z. Ruiz, member of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “The Board’s inaction and lack of urgency on this matter is unconscionable, especially given the vast racial disparities that permeate our criminal justice system, the provisions of now we are barring hundreds of thousands of Black and Latinos from our democratic process.”

The people who were arrested before the meeting also emphasized the importance of the right to vote while in prison.

“I’m a loyal voter – I take that right and responsibility,” said Greg Williams, a member of the Freedom Caucus. “When I was sent to Rikers in the days before the 2020 election, I knew I still had the right to vote while I waited for my hearing, but I saw that there was no system in place to do it. for you. The BOE needs to step in here to protect the rights of ALL voters.”

amNewYork Metro is awaiting word from the Board of Elections and the Department of Corrections.

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