California election officials are reversing a policy that prevents 45,000 people with past felony convictions from voting, placing the state in the forefront of a movement to boost voting rights for people with felony convictions.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Tuesday that the state would settle litigation over laws that had barred people under community supervision with felony convictions from voting. In other words, the state will now back voting rights for individuals under community supervision, which is generally overseen by county probation departments.
The shift affects a growing number of individuals because under the state’s effort to reduce prison and jail crowding, many people convicted of non-violent offenses are being released into community supervision programs.
Restoring voting rights has become closely tied to nationwide efforts to reform the criminal justice system.
Eighteen states this year debated legislation to relax restrictions further, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.
“We think that is in response to perceptions in the public, and the media, that this is a social policy issue, and it became obvious it was impacting democracy,” said Nicole D. Porter, director of advocacy for The Sentencing Project.
Read the full article in the Los Angeles Times.