Proposition 17 suggests that past felony offenders be allowed to vote while on parole (which, on the average, lasts three years). If implemented, it will impact some 50,000 Californians, many of them minorities, who’ve previously been incarcerated.
If passed, the proposition will reportedly cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars to amend voter registration systems.
It’s proponents argue it will counter the systemic persecution of Black and Brown communities within the judicial institution, which historically has disproportionately targeted those communities.
Under Proposition 17, the voting rights to upwards of 50,000 California parolees will be restored.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas authored a motion with Supervisor Janie Hahn to take an official position in support of Proposition 17. Other supporters include the ACLU; Black Lives Matter; the California Democratic Party; Gov. Gavin Newsom; Susan Burton, founder and president of A New Way of Life Reentry Project; Artist John Legend and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-43).
Opposing it are Crime Victims United of California, the Republican Party, and State Senator Jim Nielsen (R-CA).
Among the opposition’s reasoning is the fact that many parolees have not made full restitution for their offenses, along with it being an affront to the victims of these crimes.
The community safety advocacy group, Crime Victims United of California (https://www.crimevictimsunited.com/), argues that parole provides a useful buffer between prison and full reentry into society.
“Parole is the adjustment period when violent felons prove they are no longer a violent threat to innocent citizens…” they say in the voting pamphlet.