By Danielle Prager
For six years, while he was serving time in various New York State prisons, George Fernandez could not vote. Today he voted in the Democratic race for the 72nd District’s State Assembly primary. For himself.
Fernandez was released from his second prison term in 2002: a five-year stint at Sing Sing Correctional Facility on charges of robbery. Five years earlier, he was arrested for holding up a grocery store at gunpoint.
“Today, aside from the births of my children, is the most important day of my life,” said Fernandez. “I’ve reached the ultimate goal, casting my vote.”
New York State law prohibits convicted felons from voting while incarcerated or on parole. In order to regain voting rights, convicted felons must re-register with the state. Fernandez, who served three terms as chair of Community Board 12, cast his vote at Washington Heights Academy in Inwood.
“Everyone has their bottom, I hit mine and it’s what led me to the decision that I need to live life better: For God, for myself, for my family and for my community,” Fernandez said. “For my life story, I’ve won already because I took it all the way to the finish line. I’m here to the end and that speaks volumes.”