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Should CA prisoners be allowed to vote?




An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row on August 15, 2016 in San Quentin, California.
An armed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officer stands guard at San Quentin State Prison's death row on August 15, 2016 in San Quentin, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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A proposal seeking to give California inmates and parolees the right to vote is hoping to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla gave the greenlight Monday to allow proponents of the California Right to Vote of Convicted Felons Initiative to start gathering signatures. They must get 585,407 signatures by April 25 to qualify for next year’s ballot.

According to the petition summary on Ballotpedia, the initiative “eliminates existing restrictions on pre-registering to vote, registering to vote, and voting by persons while they are in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony.”

Proponents of the measure say that prisoners are more likely to integrate back into society if they retain voting rights and that people of color are disproportionately affected these voting restrictions. Law enforcement has previously voiced criticism against similar proposals, saying that people who commit crimes lose their right to participate in the democratic process.

Do you think convicted felons should be able to vote in California?

Guests:

Taina Vargas-Edmond, co-founder and executive director of Initiate Justice, a non-profit that advocates for people impacted by incarceration; she filed the initiative; she tweets @tainaangeli

Robert Harris, director at the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the labor union representing LAPD officers