Incarcerated Californians Could Vote from Prison Under Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Incarcerated Californians would be allowed to vote from prison under a proposed constitutional amendment announced Tuesday.

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The proposal by Assembly Member Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles, would let people vote while they are serving a prison sentence. If two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers of the Legislature approve the proposal, it would go to voters, who would decide whether to change the law. A majority of voters would need to approve the amendment for it to become law. 

“It’s the right thing to do,” Bryan wrote on Twitter. “All of the data shows that voting reduces recidivism and increases the community connectivity for people upon release.”

He also noted that nearly 10,000 veterans are incarcerated in California, and argued that they should be allowed to vote after fighting for their country. Veterans are more likely to become incarcerated than the general public, he said.

California already allows felons who have completed their prison sentence to vote. Three years ago, California voters approved a ballot measure to let people on parole vote, too. Bryan’s proposal, ACA4, would expand that right to people in prison. 

More than 90,000 adults are currently incarcerated in California state prisons, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

If passed, California would join Maine and Vermont in allowing prisoners to vote.

The measure could face a significant hurdle in the Legislature, even though Democrats hold supermajorities in both chambers. In 2019, lawmakers passed the proposed amendment allowing parolees to vote by only narrow margins. When it went before voters in the 2020 election, it passed the needed 50% threshold by a wider margin, winning about 59% of the vote.

ACA4 has not yet been assigned to a committee. 

Bryan chairs the Assembly’s elections committee. The Republican who serves as vice chair has already come out against the measure.

Click here to read the full article in the SF Chronicle


  1. Bogiewheel says

    The word BIAS comes to mind regarding incarcerated felons; That is, a pattern of deviation from standards in judgment, whereby inferences may be created unreasonably.

  2. Why are the Democrats so desperate to find people who will vote Democratic that they turn to criminals, when they already have their votes locked up with their proud announcements of ballot harvesting from all the nursing and memory care facilities around the State?

  3. Are these people in prison for a crime committed? They loose their place in society, not able to do what good abiding citizens can do! Which are a million things. A prisoner has NO privileges. And voting is one of many privileges! What’s the saying…..You do the crime you do the time. My vote would be NO voting privileges for people in prisons!

  4. Assemblyman Larry Bowler 1992-1998 says

    This idea is the epitome of stupidity and it’s author is way, way off base. Not only should his proposed constitutional amendment be sent to the trash pile, so should he.

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