SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6 (ACA 6), known as the Free the Vote Act, which would allow people on parole to vote. Currently, approximately 46,000 Californians who have been released from prison are not allowed to vote in local, state or federal elections.
“Parolees are our family members, our neighbors and our colleagues. They have been released from prison because they are no longer considered threats to society, but they are considered too dangerous to vote? That is absurd!” Kamlager-Dove said in a news conference outside the State Capitol.
A study published by the UC Berkeley La Raza Law Journal found that states that permanently disenfranchise ex-felons experience significantly higher repeat offense rates than states that do not. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Initiate Justice found that more than 76 percent of respondents on parole believed that voting would help them stay out of jail and feel more connected to their communities.
“It is time to restore the right to vote for individuals who have served their time,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). “ACA 6 will eliminate an arbitrary barrier to voting, reduce recidivism and give formerly incarcerated people an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to become productive, contributing members of our society.”
“Civic participation is foundational to a sense of community—and it can play a major role in reducing recidivism,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “If we are serious about reintegrating the formerly incarcerated into society, we should not be shunning them from democracy.
If ACA 6 is passed by the state legislature and approved by Governor Newsom, it will go to California voters in 2020.
Assemblywoman Kamlager-Dove proudly represents California’s 54th Assembly District which consists of Baldwin Hills, the Crenshaw district, Culver City, Century City, Westwood, Holmby Hills, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista and parts of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.