Proposition 17 restores the voting rights of people who have lost the right to vote because they were sent to prison. The proposition will incur annual county costs, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars statewide, for voter registration and ballot materials. There will be one-time state costs, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, for voter registration cards and systems.

A yes vote means that people on state parole who are U.S. citizens, residents of California, and at least 18 years old will be able to vote if they register to do so.

A no vote means people on state parole would continue to be unable to vote in California.

Background

Currently, California felons who have completed their state or federal prison sentences are denied the right to vote until they finish their parole. Proposition 17 would amend the state constitution to give the vote to an estimated 50,000 people who supporters say have paid their debt to society and should be able to choose their representatives and shape the policies that affect their daily lives.

The advocacy group Yes On 17 says research has found that felons are less likely to re-engage in criminal activity if they “feel that they are valued members of their community and that their voices matter and concerns are addressed.”

In addition, advocates say there’s a racial inequity to the issue of parole. They say three of four men leaving prison in California are Black, Latino or Asian American. As the U.S. grapples with its history of racial subordination, suppressing the votes of former inmates who are minorities is especially troubling, they say.


(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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