State GOP’s fear campaign won’t work

Marc Molinaro is the Republican candidate for New York governor.
Marc Molinaro is the Republican candidate for New York governor. Photo Credit: CBS All Access

The uncharacteristically high voter turnout in Thursday’s Democratic primaries has to have Republicans concerned that the opposition is highly energized and ready to mobilize.

The anger might be toward President Donald Trump, but the energy is funneling into fights closer to home. And if the hot issue New York’s Republican leaders highlighted last week to try to scare voters away from Democrats is any indication of the ammo they’re toting for the general election battle, the GOP needs to reload.

Gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro and State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan were in a frenzy because of a recent move by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pardon more than 24,000 New Yorkers on parole for having committed felonies, which accelerated the restoration of their right to vote. They objected because some of those parolees are sex offenders and some polling places are in schools.

According to the Department of Corrections, these sex-offender parolees could only vote at school polling locations after 7 p.m. And they had to receive written permission from both their parole officers and the school superintendents, and inform parole officers of their travel plans to and from the school before voting.

These permissions in most instances are the ones sex offenders already needed to pick up their kids or grandkids or attend events.

It’s silly to believe that letting these people into schools to vote, after 7 p.m., under the same rules they must follow to enter schools every day, presents a significant danger. But the fear card is becoming second nature to the state’s GOP, which also likes to cast Democrats as pro-MS-13, and soft on crime.

If Republicans want to run in November on a platform of protecting New York’s children, we’d suggest several issues more worthy of their efforts: About 750,000 of New York’s children don’t get enough to eat. More than 150,000 reports of abuse or neglect of a child are filed each year. And 1,111 children under age 18 were killed by gunfire in New York between 1999 and 2014.