California governor signs bill clarifying felons’ right to vote

California governor signs bill clarifying felons’ right to vote

California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed [press update] legislation [AB 2466 fact sheet, PDF] clarifying felons’ voting rights. The law now clarifies that those sentenced under the third category of Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 [AB 109 and 117]—a term in county jail—are not stripped of their constitutional right to vote and confirms that only those serving a state-prison sentence or on parole and under California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [official website] supervision lose the right to vote. Bill sponsor Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) said the legislation is expected to ease the transition back to society and reduce recidivism.

Voting rights of convicted felons are a controversial issue. In June The Iowa Supreme Court upheld [JURIST report]] a state law forbidding convicted felons from voting, even after serving their sentences. Also in June Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit challenging an executive order by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe restoring the voting rights of certain felons [JURIST report]. In February the Maryland Senate overrode a veto by Governor Larry Hogan to pass a bill that will allow felons to vote [JURIST report] before they complete parole or probation.