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Capitol Update July 30, 2020

 July 30, 2020

California Federation of Republican Women
Sue Blair, President

By Lee Ann Flaherty, CFRW Legislative Analyst

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California Proposition 17, the Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment, is on the ballot in California as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.

“yes” vote supports this constitutional amendment to allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote.


“no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby continuing to prohibit people who are on parole for felony convictions from voting.

What is Proposition 17?
Proposition 17 is a constitutional amendment that would allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote in California.
Currently, the California Constitution disqualifies people with felonies from voting until their imprisonment and parole are completed (Constitutional amendment, Proposition 10 passed in 1974). The ballot measure would again amend the state constitution to allow people with felonies who are on parole to vote; therefore, the ballot measure would keep imprisonment as a disqualification for voting but remove parole status.
Constitutional changes
The measure would amend Section 2 and Section 4 of Article II of the California Constitution. The following underlined text would be added and struck-through text would be deleted:

Section 2
(a) A United States citizen 18 years of age and resident in this State may vote.
(b) An elector disqualified from voting while serving a state or federal prison term, as described in Section 4, shall have their right to vote restored upon the completion of their prison term.
Section 4
The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony.

This Proposition started as Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6 (ACA 6) in January 2019.  It barely passed the State Assembly vote (54 – 19, needing 54) in September 2019 and the State Senate vote (28-9, needing 27) in June 2020.
The Free the Vote Coalition is leading the campaign in support of the ballot measure.
  • ACLU of California
  • League of Women Voters of California
  • Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-4)
  • Election Integrity Project California 
Arguments are varied but the Election Integrity Project succinctly states:
  • “ACA 6 seeks to restore voting rights, the most fundamental and valuable of American privileges, to those who have not completed making full restitution for their crimes. While on parole, a former criminal’s liberties, such as movement, association, activities and even ownership of certain items are still heavily restricted and regularly monitored by the system. Any misstep results in immediate re-incarceration. In other words, an individual on parole has not regained the full trust of the society at large, nor the privilege to participate as a full member of that society.”

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