After California’s voting rights were restored, activists see a growing national trend

WASHINGTON – California voters won the state’s convicted goons on Election Day: their ability to join the state’s vote the next time.

A national movement continues across the country – many of the hooligans have completed their sentences and returned to the voting booth after finishing their parole.

For Ilannon Woods, co-host of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast Year Hustle and an advocate for ex-offenders who are working for a comeback after life, the ability to vote after reuniting will reintegrate society Was an important step for.

“I was first miscarried at the age of 9,” Woods told NBC News. After 21 years in prison, Woods was granted clemency by the Governor of California. His parole ended on September 23, 2020 and he registered to vote the same night.

Woods said, “I pay taxes. So for me it was more of taxation without representation.” “So I definitely wanted to be involved in this process.”

As of 2016, there are 6.1 million Americans who have been convicted, who are barred from voting due to state laws, according to the advocacy organization, The Sentencing Project. About 75 percent of them are no longer disorganized and half have already completed their parole.

This year, with the passage of Proposition 17, Californians voted to restore the right to vote to more than 50,000 people on parole in the state. A change in the law, which was initiated by a group called Initiative Justice and formerly undeclared, allows citizens to register automatically to vote. .

The measure passed with about 60 percent of the vote.

According to the National Council of State Legislators, states have a national trend, which restores voting rights of previously unaccompanied voters. In most states, they lose their voting rights for some time during and after hooliganism. In eleven states, the goons lost their votes indefinitely.

The California measure faced opposition from some state Republicans, who called the measure a struggle for victims of crime, and argued that parole should be given a full sentence before restoring their voting rights – including parole. Is included.

The attempt to restore the right to vote for hooliganism is deeply racialized.

In a report by the California Initiative Review on Proposal 17, it highlighted racial disparities in California’s parole system. While Africans make up just 6 percent of the American population, they make up 26 percent of the state’s parole population. With the passage of Proposition 17, it restored a significant portion of the African American population’s voting ability.

A 2016 report released by The Sentencing Project found that while black disenfranchisement varies greatly from state to state, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia – one in five African Americans do not have voting rights.

Woods views voting as a fundamental right as an American citizen – felon or not.

“You are still not part of the process … You are still deprived of a fundamental right that individuals have, who are voting,” Woods said. “It is a thing that has been fought forever, but in some capacity, there is still some form of voter suppression.”

In 2018, Florida passed an amendment that restored voting rights to those previously unaccompanied. Prior to passage, Florida was one of four states that were permanently felony.

“I graduated law school, and you know my story was that despite all the obstacles that I have been able to overcome, I still could not practice law with my civil rights. [having] Was not reinstated, and finally in 2016 when my wife Sheena left for state office. I couldn’t even vote for that, “said Desmond Meade, founder of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC).

Florida law restored voting rights to more than one million people.

Floridians are required to “meet all the conditions of their sentence, including parole or probation,” and felony to pay any outstanding fines before being allowed to vote.

“Nothing speaks for citizenship more than being able to vote. When you talk about citizenship, even if someone makes a mistake, they should not stop being American citizens, ”says Meade.

In 2005, Maidae was recently released from prison and after contemplating suicide decided to test herself in drug treatment. It was there that he decided to engage in advocacy work and learned about felon dysfranchisement. Soon, then-village. Rick Scott took office and changed state rules to allow some goons to vote, which was a turning point for Meade.

“I felt it was too much power for any politician, whether they were Democrats, Republicans, or whatever,” Meade said. Meade decided to focus his advocacy efforts to restore the voting rights of the formerly disadvantaged.

The Initiative Justice was working on similar efforts across the country. Initiative Justice co-founder Tanya Vargas-Edmund decided that she needed to mobilize recently released and currently disengaged goons. The coalition fighting for the bill was headed by formerly unaccompanied people or those who have given birth to their loved ones.

The resumption of voting rights has long been associated with low rates of redistribution among convicted goons. Two reports by the Florida Parole Commission show citizens who had their voting rights restored are 4.5 percent less likely to be repeat offenders on average.

The next step for initiative justice is to obtain voting rights for those still inside the prison. His message focuses on the idea that no one should ever lose their vote.

“When people have returned home from prison, their voting rights are restored, they are more connected to the community and feel part of the solution rather than the problem, and therefore less likely to return to prison and into society It is more likely to regroup. Successfully, ”Vargas-Edmund told NBC News.

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