California votes to return voting rights to felons on parole
California voters on Tuesday approved a ballot initiative restoring voting rights to Golden State parolees.
In its current form, the state Constitution disenfranchises Californians with felony convictions who are still incarcerated or on parole. People on probation, in contrast, already have their right to vote enshrined in the state Constitution. The new measure, Proposition 17, will re-enfranchise about 50,000 people, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The measure won support from prominent California Democrats, including vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, who wrote the initiative. It passed with 59 percent of the vote, according to a projection by The New York Times.
“Prop. 17 gives Californians the chance to right a wrong and restore voting rights for a marginalized community and people of color,” McCarty said. “This is good for democracy and good for public safety.”
“Today, in California there are 50,000 women and men who have completed their state prison sentence, are reintegrating back into society, working jobs and paying taxes, but are denied the right to vote,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Yet research shows that in jurisdictions where voting rights are more easily restored, formerly incarcerated individuals re-offend at lower rates.”
People incarcerated with felony convictions in California will still not be able to vote, unlike states like Vermont that allow incarcerated people to vote as well, although the state does allow Californians in county jails to vote.
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