Nearly 50,000 Californians currently on parole could regain the right to vote under a voting rights bill introduced on Monday. A group of Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a state constitutional amendment already coined the Free the Vote Act and are hoping to restore parolees’ voting rights in an effort to cut down statewide recidivism rates. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, wants California to build on momentum gained last November in Florida where voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that restored voting rights to most felons who have completed sentences. He said that “roughly half of the states in the country are more progressive” than California in allowing felons and parolees the chance to vote, including Republican-led states like Maine, North Dakota and Utah.
“Today we’re here to work together to free the vote for those people who have served their time,” McCarty said at a press conference outside the state Capitol. “People on parole are our neighbors, our family members, our colleagues; they work and pay taxes and want to make California a better place.”
Approximately 48,600 Californians on parole are unable to vote under current state law, while an estimated six million are unable to vote nationwide.
The Democrats’ proposal is a constitutional amendment and therefore needs to pass both the state Assembly and Senate with a two-thirds majority. It would then need to be cleared by the governor before landing on a statewide ballot.
Full Article: California Bill Would Give Voting Rights to Parolees.