This story has been updated.
Who do you want to win the 2018 NY gubernatorial election?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)
Actress Cynthia Nixon (D)
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R)
New Yorkers who plan to vote in next week’s primary elections should be forewarned.
For the first time, thousands of registered sex offenders and paroled pedophiles are now allowed to vote at school polling places— but only after 7 p.m., according to state officials.
The state primary is on Thursday, Sept. 13 and the general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
In May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New Castle issued a blanket pardon that gave 24,000 parolees the right to vote.
State law generally bars sex offenders from appearing on school grounds — with a few exceptions. One exception is being a participant in an activity at the school.
The state Department of Correctional Services created a special condition that allows a paroled sex convict to vote at a polling place in a school after getting permission from his/her parole officer and a school district administrator.
“They may only enter upon the school grounds after 7 p.m. on the date of the election and not remain in or loiter around the school grounds once the voting process is completed,” the rule states.
Duthcess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the Republican Party gubernatorial candidate, blasted Cuomo for pushing pardons through and potentially putting thousands of students at risk.
Molinaro claimed that under his reading of the law, sex offenders can’t vote at polling places at schools because they are prohibited from entering them.
The GOP challenger also said parolees can’t vote by absentee ballot because they are barred from leaving their county of residence under their conditions of parole.
Some county sheriffs have threatened to arrest sex offenders who show up at schools.
Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois said, “The desperation for votes by the governor by allowing felons, in particular pedophiles restricted by law from going near our schools where polling places are located, again demonstrates an illegal double standard by allowing absentee voting, when in fact the person is not absent defined by the law.”
Molinaro said, “It defies reason to open our schools to convicted child molesters, and it’s also against the law. Mr. Cuomo clearly didn’t think this through, and now, six days before his gubernatorial primary, he’s unfairly placing the burden of his rash decision on school superintendents who are caught completely blindsided by his actions.”
Cuomo’s spokesman accused Molinaro of fearmongering.
Richard Azzopardi, the spokesman, said, “It’s pathetic that not only is Molinaro trying to fearmonger for political gain, he does it while also showing that he has no idea what he’s talking about."
“The truth is, the governor’s action put New York on par with 16 other states — liberal and conservative — that restore voting rights to the formerly incarcerated and do so in the way that’s exactly prescribed by law,” Azzopardi said.
There are currently 10,212 convicts registered with the state as Level 3 sex offenders, a category that classifies as the most violent and dangerous.
Molinaro countered: “Because of his bungling and mad desire for votes next week, he’s asking school superintendents and election inspectors to assume an unacceptable burden. . . . What a mess he’s created."
“Andrew Cuomo is instructing sex predators to break the law; I am asking hardworking New York State Sheriffs to enforce it,” Molinaro added. “If Andrew Cuomo wanted to change the law to allow his pardoned sex offenders on school property on primary day he should have done so. But he didn’t, and the law is the law — at least in my book.”
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