California’s Constitution currently denies people on parole for felony convictions the right to vote until they served their sentence and their parole is over. On average, that could be up to at least three years after their release date. To remove this barrier to voting, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, asking that the County support Proposition 17, a state measure on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution so that people on parole for felony convictions can vote.
“Throughout the years, structural racism has disenfranchised communities of color with the use of poll taxes and literary tests. Sadly, we still see how structural inequities prohibit people on parole from exercising their right to vote,” said Supervisor Solis. “Our communities of color are disproportionately represented in our criminal justice system and this limitation in our state constitution denies our justice-involved population from having an electoral voice. If given the right to vote, it will move them in the direction of civic engagement and of being productive members of society – and we all stand to benefit from that.”
Proposition 17 would restore voting rights for almost 50,000 people on parole throughout the state of California. The measure will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
“Depriving people with criminal convictions of the right to vote is part of a larger history of disenfranchisement that has disproportionately impacted people of color,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “When men and women are released from prison it is only just to restore those rights and welcome people back to full participation in our democratic society. They have served their time and it was never right to add on this punishment. Prop. 17 will correct this by restoring voting rights to people on parole.”
The Anti-Recidivism Coalition thanked Supervisor Solis and Supervisor Kuehl for their support and advocacy.
“In California, 50,000 people who pay taxes, contribute to their families, and work to support their communities are prevented from voting even though they have completed their prison term,” said Esteban Nuñez, director of Advocacy at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC). “We thank Supervisors Solis and Kuehl for their leadership and motion in support of Proposition 17. Voting Yes on Prop 17 will help Californians who are returning home from prison reintegrate into society and have a more complete stake in their communities.”
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org