The California state Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk last month that would allow felons serving time in county jails the right to vote. Current California law only allows felons the right to vote after they have completed parole. The California constitution states that “The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony.” The legislation addresses this language in the state’s constitution by defining imprisoned as “currently serving a state or federal prison sentence.”
Cory Salzillo, legislative director for the California State Sheriffs’ Association, pointed out to the Daily Signal that “the bill would create an odd circumstance in which inmates out of prison on parole are prohibited from voting, but felons behind bars in county jails could vote.”
Brown has until September 30th to consider signing the bill into law.
He previously signed the Criminal Justice Realignment Act in 2011, which allowed officials to move low-level offenders who are denied probation to county jails to address overcrowding in the state’s prisons.