The United States is a democracy, which means that every citizen has the right to vote after maturing to the proper age. It’s a right that’s never taken for granted; a significant number of countries around the world do not permit their citizen’s such liberties. When we vote for someone running for office or a piece of legislation that could have an impact on our lives, it’s a reminder that our voice matters. That we are just as crucial to the entire process as those elected to lead us.
There are instances when one can lose their right to take part in the democratic process. The majority of states have laws on the books prohibiting those convicted of certain crimes (felony crimes) like murder from voting. Each state handles it differently, but the result is usually the same. Convicted felons cannot vote.
As you can imagine there are some who take issue with disenfranchising a considerable swath of the American populate. It’s one thing to strip one’s right to vote while incarcerated, but after felons are released, they still can’t vote in most cases. Despite any efforts made to rehabilitate oneself while behind bars, individuals do not have their constitutional right to vote reinstated.
Voting Rights in California
At the end of September, California Governor Jerry Brown restored voting rights to thousands of felons, CBS News reports. With the passage of Assembly Bill 2466, felons not serving time in Federal prisons will be allowed to vote even if they are still doing time in a county jail. AB 2466 will apply to low-level convicted felons.
The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City), is the direct result of a lawsuit arguing that felons doing time in county jail should not be treated commensurately with Federal inmates, according to the article. The suit won and, as a result, as many as 50,000 felons will be voting again. The ACLU claims that current laws prohibiting felons from voting were modern-day “felony disenfranchisement” and a “legacy of Jim Crow.” However, opponents of the bill say that the bill rewards criminals for their bad choices.
“Close elections, especially at the local level, could now turn on a handful of ballots cast by people in jail,” said Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) in a statement.
Orange County Criminal Attorney
If you have been charged with a felony, please contact The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. His stellar track record over 30 years of legal practice, means that Attorney Brower will give you the best chance of favorable outcomes.