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California Reverses Policy Prohibiting Former Inmates from Voting
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Summary: Former inmates in California are now able to vote after the state reversed they policy in their attempt to increase voting numbers.

A policy in California made it so former inmates that had completed their prison time but were still subjected to community supervision were unable to vote. That policy was removed by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. This is expected to affect around 60,000 Californians.


California has a large population that has been released due to their early release programs since their prison population is unconstitutionally large. Padilla stated “There is strong evidence that reintegrating former inmates back into society by helping them find jobs and housing gives them a better chance of not re-offending, and I think voting is a key part of that.”

Padilla also settled for $215,000 with a voting rights group that challenged the law. California’s election participation is depressingly low and one of the worst in the country with only 42 percent voting in last fall’s elections. Los Angeles County only had 31 percent vote.

Those that do vote generally come from older, white, and higher income households than the rest of the population. Latinos are the largest demographic in California but have the lowest voting rate at 28 percent.

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The state is considering other options to help improve voting numbers, such as same-day registration and mailed ballots that are postmarked by the day of election. A bill was also introduced to put electronic signs on the highways that would remind drivers to register and vote.

The biggest attempt that California is considering would be to use DMV records to automatically register residents. The bill has been passed by the State Assembly and they are now waiting on the Senate.




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