Last Friday, the first ever Voter Registration Drive was held at the Onondaga County Justice Center, coordinated by representatives from the CNY Women's Bar Association, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, the Syracuse City School District and the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office.
The group spoke to inmates about New York voting laws and distributed informational pamphlets and voter registration forms to those who are eligible. The 40 registered inmates will receive absentee ballots so they can participate in the November elections. While this was the first formal drive, inmates have always been able to request voter registration forms from the Justice Center's law librarian. This educational process allowed the inmate population to understand that while awaiting case disposition, their collective right to vote, for those eligible, will not be denied.
This transparent approach with the County's presentenced population is foundational to an effective balance between individual rights and institutional safety.
Read Samantha Mendoza's full article in the Newshouse.