New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) issued what his office is calling "conditional pardons" to more than 24,000 parolees, effectively restoring their voting rights -- just in time for them to vote for him for re-election.
Cuomo claims that move is a "compassionate" way to welcome parolees back into society, by making them fully participating members in the representative democracy.
“The right to vote is fundamental and it is unconscionable to deny that basic right of citizenship to New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society,” Cuomo said.
“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."
But the timing is, of course, oddly convenient for Cuomo. This week, New York conducts its Democratic Convention, and Cuomo faces a primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, who is well to Cuomo's left, and who has locked up the progressive vote. Since restoring felons' voting rights has been on New York progressives' agendas for years, Cuomo clearly believes he can win back some support with the eleventh hour pardons.
The only problem is, of course, that Cuomo used his ability to grant pardons without much concern for precisely whom he was pardoning, which means, in his "compassionate" act, he managed to give even violent criminals -- even a convicted cop killer -- back rights they personally forfeited when they committed first degree murder.
Included in Cuomo's pardon is Herman Bell, a convicted cop-killer who murdered a New York City two police officers in cold blood while the officers begged for their lives. A member of the "Black Liberation Army," Bell lured the two cops -- one black and one white -- to a housing project, and then shot them while their backs were turned. Bell spent 40 years in prison before Cuomo granted him early release and a conditional pardon -- even though no less than ultra-leftist NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio believed Bell should be kept behind bars.
But Cuomo apparently needed the votes more than he needed to keep his citizens -- and his law enforcement officers -- safe from harm.