UPDATED 12:50 PM PT – Thursday, April 22, 2021
Critics said at a time when confidence in U.S. elections is at an all-time low, Americans have called for strong voting security, but Democrats have done the opposite.
On Wednesday, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to automatically restore voting rights for all prisoners immediately upon release regardless of their crime. Incarcerated individuals would not have to wait until the final date of their sentence to register to vote or vote in an election.
BREAKING: The New York State Assembly just passed S.830B, which would automatically restore voting rights for all New Yorkers upon release from prison. The legislature must now send it to the Governor for his signature.
— Brennan Center (@BrennanCenter) April 21, 2021
At a digital panel Monday, Christine Montross, Associate Psychiatry and Human Behavior Professor at Brown University, highlighted what this type of law could mean for the upcoming midterms.
“It’s certainly regular citizens in the voting booth, so I think part of the power of tough on crime really gets reduced when tough on crime candidates are no longer finding that this message is particularly successful for them,” Montross stated.
This came in the wake of the passage of H.R.1. through the Democrat-controlled House, which would force every state to let felons vote after completing their prison sentence. It faces an uphill battle in the Senate, with Republican critics condemning it. They have argued it may require states to let millions of “illegal aliens” and “child molesters” vote.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke at a recent Senate hearing and said the process lacks identification safeguards. He stressed, further lowering the bar to vote in U.S. elections could lead to Americans having less faith in the process, especially as growing evidence of voter fraud cast widespread doubt over legitimacy of the 2020 election.
“But it’s not just illegal aliens,” Cruz stated. “This bill is designed to get criminals to vote. A great many states across the country prohibit felons from voting. This bill strikes down all those laws. This bill says if you’re a murderer, if you’re a rapist, if you’re a child molestor, we the Democrats want you voting. Every one of those state laws is struck down.”
Former U.S. Representative and current Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita also weighed in to warn this could shrink the voice of law-abiding americans.
“It would dilute the votes of every citizen who is supposed to be voting,” Cruz added.
Cruz suggested Democrats should focus on strengthening election security, adding, the goal of their voter reform does not come from a place of love for people, but rather their desire to “win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate for the next century.”