The Sacred Right To Vote

This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to restore voting rights to those on parole and reverse disenfranchisement for thousands of New Yorkers. According to the governor’s office, parole voting restrictions greatly affect communities of color, with approximately 71 percent of the disenfranchised being African Americans or Hispanics.

And in this week’s Queens Tribune, residents of LeFrak City—a housing development with a large population of minorities and seniors—joined lawyers and elected officials to call for the city’s Board of Elections to keep its polling site open following a Supreme Court decision siding with the residents and then the BOE’s appeal of the decision with the court’s Appellate Division.

We agree with both Cuomo’s executive order and the residents of LeFrak City. For a democracy to work, all of its citizens need to be able to participate in the process of choosing the individuals who will make the decisions that affect their lives. It is imperative that all of New York City’s residents be able to vote.

IDC, Mainline Dems Must Work Together

Seven years after its formation, the Independent Democratic Conference has been dissolved and its members—including state Sens. Tony Avella and Jose Peralta—have returned to the Democratic Party’s fold.

For years, mainline Democrats have argued that the IDC prevented the party from holding a majority in the state senate, while IDC members countered that they voted alongside Republicans to give them a seat at the table and, therefore, bring home resources to their communities.

Now that they have rejoined, the excuses should come to a halt. Yes, the Democrats must win two special elections on April 24 and bring back Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, who caucuses with the Republicans, to have a majority in the senate. But in the meantime, the two sides of the party must work together to deliver on the promises they have made to their constituents. For too long, politicians at the city, state and federal level have played the blame game.


 

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