As we reflect on Dr. King’s life and the legacy of all of the courageous activists who were part of the great Black freedom struggle of the 1950s and 60s, we are compelled to take urgent action to accomplish one of the goals to which he devoted his life—guaranteeing the right to vote to all. Dr. King considered the right to vote as central to all advances in civil and human rights in this country, and as “the foundation stone for political action.”
Inspired by Dr. King’s work, we have introduced legislation to amend the New York State Constitution to remove the bar on voting by incarcerated people and to affirmatively recognize the right of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals to vote. Our bill S. 316/A. 412 would open the door to ending the nearly 200-year-old practice in New York of felony disenfranchisement.