Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he intends to restore voting rights to felons on parole, a move that could open the ballot box to more than 35,000 people.
The mechanism through which Mr. Cuomo plans to do so is unusual: He would consider pardons for all 35,000 people currently on parole in New York, as well as any new convicted felons who enter the parole system each month.
The move amounts to a legal sidestep of the State Legislature, where the Republican-controlled Senate has opposed many of Mr. Cuomo’s proposed criminal justice reforms. It does not change state law, which currently bars convicted felons from voting unless they are on probation or have completed parole….
Mr. Cuomo’s primary opponent in his bid for a third term, Cynthia Nixon, has also made criminal justice reform a central plank of her campaign, calling for the legalization of recreational marijuana because of its disproportionate impact on the incarceration of black and Latino New Yorkers.
Ms. Nixon blasted Mr. Cuomo’s executive order as an insufficient, transparent response to her challenge from his left flank.
“For eight years, Cuomo governed like a Republican — handing control of our state to his ultrarich donors and the party of Trump. Now he’s scared of communities all across New York who want to replace him with a real Democrat,” she said in a statement, adding, “Voter suppression in New York should have ended eight years ago.”