by DARIEN LAMEN
(ROCHESTER, NY)--New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied Jalil Muntaqim a conditional pardon that would have restored his right to vote.
A NYS Department of Corrections website was updated at some point between November 13 and November 17 to show that Muntaqim received the voting pardon, which the governor's office processes routinely and on a monthly basis.
However, a spokesperson for Governor Cuomo's office told CITY News this week that the status change shown on the NYSDOC database was "a clerical error," and that in fact the Governor denied Muntaqim a pardon last week.
Muntaqim was released on parole in October after nearly 50 years in the carceral system. Shortly thereafter, in the lead up to the general election, local right wing commentators and GOP leaders in Rochester attempted to whip up controversy by claiming Muntaqim had illegally registered to vote. That matter is now in court.
People with felony convictions are not allowed to vote in New York State until they complete their sentence or their parole. But in 2018, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order that allows people on parole to vote if they receive a conditional pardon from the governor.
At the time, Cuomo called denying the right to vote to returning citizens "unconscionable,"
saying, "Restoring a voice to men and women reentering their communities will strengthen our democracy, as well as the reentry process, which in-turn will help reduce recidivism."
The governor's spokesperson did not give a reason for Cuomo's decision denying Muntaqim the conditional pardon last week.
DARIEN LAMEN is news director/producer for Reclaiming the Narrative. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.