Proposed ballot measure would let California parolees vote

Tens of thousands of parolees would be allowed to vote under a state constitutional amendment proposed by California's secretary of state and Democratic lawmakers who called it the next civil rights issue.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and other advocates say the proposal intended for the 2020 ballot would help nearly 50,000 felons who have served their time adjust to being back in the community. Parolees currently are banned from registering to vote in local, state or federal elections.

California is one of several states that have or are considering expanding voting rights for felons. The proposal would include murderers, rapists and others convicted of violent crimes. It wouldnā€™t affect criminals until they are released from custody, unlike in some other states.

Crime Victims Action Alliance executive director Christine Ward says the proposal continues California's pattern in recent years of reducing sentences and increasing earlier releases from prison. She says "why should the individuals who committed these horrible crimes be given the same rights as the rest of us who are following the rules?"


Dawn Kamber