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California Proposition 17: Voting Eligibility For People On Parole


This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Proposition 17 would let people who are on parole for felony convictions vote — that’s more than 50,000 people.

As state law has it now, they’re not eligible to vote — or even register — until their parole is over. On average, that could be up to at least three years after their release date.

To change that actually requires a constitutional amendment, and that’s what Proposition 17 would do. 

The nation is conflicted on this one. In 11 states, voting rights can be taken away indefinitely or require the governor’s pardon for restoration. But elsewhere, there’s a growing trend to expand voting rights for people with a criminal background. Right now, 18 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, allow parolees voting rights.

A similar measure recently passed in California, too: Back in 2016, people in county jails were given the right to vote in California—even while incarcerated. Proposition 17 would restore voting rights for people formerly incarcerated in state or federal prisons.

The Free the Vote Coalition is leading the campaign in support of Proposition 17. They say it’s not fair that parolees are obligated to pay taxes, but lack the right to vote.

The Election Integrity Project California is among those who oppose Proposition 17. They say people shouldn’t get civil liberties like voting until they’ve made “full restitution for their crimes."

So, to recap, if you want to let people who are on parole for felony convictions vote, then vote yes on Proposition 17. If you want to continue not allowing them to vote, then vote no.