New York Daily News | Legal Aid Kicks Off Voter Registration Drive at Rikers Island
August 6th, 2018
By Jillian Jorgensen and Reuven Blau
Rikers Island inmates have voting rights, too.
Legal Aid Society staffers visited Rikers on Monday to launch the organization’s first-ever behind-bars voter registration drive.
“Incarceration does not define these individuals, and they are entitled to express their opinion and deserve to be heard just like everyone else,” said Anthony Posada, supervising attorney with the group’s community justice unit.
Legal Aid launched the campaign to clarify to those in jail who is eligible to vote.
People on probation can cast ballots. But those imprisoned or on parole for felony charges can’t vote, according to New York law.
Legal Aid volunteers visited inmates at the Eric M. Taylor Center, Anna M. Kross Center, Otis Bantum Correctional Center and the Rose M. Singer Center.
They registered more than 50 Rikers inmates. The team plans more jail visits on Aug. 13, 20 and 27.
That should give eligible inmates time to meet the Sept. 6 deadline to postmark an application by mail for an absentee ballot.
Mayor de Blasio supports the idea of getting more Rikers inmates to vote.
“We want them to vote [and] we want them never to see the inside of a jail again,” he said Monday on NY1’s Inside City Hall program. “I think those two go together.”