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FAQ

What does Proposition 17 entail?


California Proposition 17 would restore voting rights upon completion of prison term to individuals who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term. People on state parole who are U.S. citizens, residents of California, and at least 18 years of age would be able to vote if they register to vote.




Is Proposition 17 the same as ACA 6?


Prop 17 is the outcome of ACA 6 and AB 646, two bills that successfully passed through the CA legislature in 2020. On June 24, 2020, the California Senate voted with a 2/3 majority to place ACA 6 on the November ballot.




I thought Californians released from prison can already vote?


In California, individuals who are in state or federal prison are ineligible to vote, although those serving a sentence in a county jail can vote. Once released from federal prison, individuals on probation can vote immediately -- but puzzingly, those released from state prison and on parole cannot. Prop 17 seeks to restore voting rights to those individuals who are released and on parole, recognizing that voting is a right of citizenship, that it aids in reintegration by creating stronger civic ties to the community, and that it fufills our country's commitment to the founding principle of "no taxation without representation."




How does voting help increase public safety?


Voting gives individuals a stake in their communities and a reason to become and remain civically engaged. In 20 states where people on parole can vote, the recidivism rate is lower than that in California. This civic engagement creates a self-strengthening cycle that increases public safety by helping people stay out of prison.




Why should someone have the right to vote if they’re still being punished for a crime?


Parole is meant to be part of the re-entry process. According to legislative decree (Senate Bill No. 230) and the California Supreme Court (In Re Butler, 2018), a person has completed his or her sentence when they are deemed suitable for parole. Once they are on parole, the focus shifts from being punitive to aiding with reintegration into society. Prop 17 is an essential step in helping returning citizens re-enter society.




How can I spread the word?


We encourage you to share your support of Prop 17 with your friends and social networks. Access the social media toolkit for information, suggested posts and post-ready images.





Free the Vote 2020

Working to restore voting rights to 50,000 Californians on parole. Because democracy means everyone.

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© 2020 Free the Vote 2020. Paid for by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.