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Published On: Thu, Sep 29th, 2016

Jerry Brown signs California law reinstating the right for felons to vote, ends ‘discrimination in voting’

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the reinstatement of voting rights for felons who are not doing time in state or federal prisons. The law will go into effect in 2017.

Governor Brown signed the bill Wednesday, which stated that anyone convicted of a felony, but who is not currently in state or federal prison or on parole, is allowed to vote.

The bill, which reinstates voting rights for some felons, including county jail inmates, was authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and State Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City). Weber said California is setting an example at a time when other states are trying to limit voting rights.

“I wrote AB 2466 because I want to send a message to the nation that California will not stand for discrimination in voting,” Weber said Wednesday after the bill was signed.

photo Brandon Jones

photo Brandon Jones

“Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism,” Weber said when the bill was introduced.

State Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) argued it compromised the integrity of elections.

“Close elections, especially at the local level, could now turn on a handful of ballots cast by people in jail,” said Bates in a statement.

California’s constitution denies the right to vote to anyone in prison or on parole. In 2011, the state’s “realignment plan” shifted many of the state’s correction program responsibilities to local government, spurring the transfer of many low-level felony offenders to county-run jails and programs in an effort to reduce overcrowded state and federal prisons and save money.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the prior status quo modern-day “felony disenfranchisement” and a “legacy of Jim Crow.”

“We believe that there have to be consequences to your action, and the consequences of being a convicted felon are that you can’t vote and you can’t possess firearms,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, told the Los Angeles Times.

Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation stated that  “California is stronger and healthier when more people participate in the electoral process…Mass disenfranchisement for minor offenses is a tragic legacy of the Jim Crow era that disproportionately affects and diminishes the power of communities of color.”

donkeyhotey  donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

donkeyhotey donkeyhotey.wordpress.com

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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