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CaliforniaJanice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: Voting Rights Act for Registrants May Be Required

Today is election day. Today California voters will cast their ballots in a primary election that determines the nomination of candidates for offices from Insurance Commissioner to U.S. Senator as well as the outcome of several ballot propositions.

Because it is a mid-term election, the percentage of people expected to vote is low, perhaps as low as 30 percent. Missing from the number of people who vote today, however, may be many registrants, some of whom have been misinformed and told that they are not eligible to vote.

For example, a probation officer recently told a registrant released from federal prison a few months ago that he was not eligible to vote today. The probation officer repeated this statement even after the registrant presented the officer with a copy of the law which clearly states that the only persons prohibited from voting are those on parole (not probation) or imprisoned for a felony.

Fortunately, the self-educated registrant disregarded the misinformation he received from the probation officer and voted via the mail-in ballot he had requested and received..

The question is how many registrants listened to that probation officer or another probation or parole officer and did not vote because he was told he was not eligible to vote? Are similar statements made by parole or probation officers merely a mistake or is it something more? Are parole and probation officers deliberately deceiving registrants because they don’t want registrants to vote?

The answer to that question may be found at Coalinga State Hospital, where registrants experienced an anti-registrant bias during last year’s election. Many of the registrants at the hospital were misinformed when they were told that they were not eligible to vote. Some of the registrants disregarded this misinformation and registered to vote. Those registrants were later discouraged by hospital staff to cast their votes.

To make matters worse, the votes actually cast by registrants at Coalinga State Hospital in that election were challenged in court. That is, the City of Coalinga attempted to nullify the patients’ votes because the patients’ votes helped to defeat the city’s proposed sales tax increase. The City’s attempt to nullify the registrants’ votes was stopped, however, doing so required considerable resources including legal representation at several court hearings.

Today is election day. And the next election, a general election, is only five months away — November 6, 2018.

Between now and then we encourage all registrants who are not on parole or incarcerated for a felony to register to vote. We encourage the same registrants to actually vote on November 6. Finally, we encourage all registrants who are misinformed about their eligibility to vote to contact this organization, ACSOL.

If government officials continue to misinform registrants about their right to vote, ACSOL will lead an effort to pass a Voting Rights Act to protect a fundamental right of registrants, that is, the right to vote.

— by Janice Bellucci
read all Janice’s Journals

Join the discussion

  1. Lake County

    I voted today! I always do. I know that many registrants and non-registrants never vote. But you don’t have a right to complain about government if you don’t exercise your right to vote.

  2. AnonMom

    I’m not going to lie, my husband threw his mail in ballot in the trash simply out of ignorance of the law. He looked upset, now I wish I knew this before. At least there is next time, as he won’t be able to make it to the polls today due to required “therapy.”

    • Janice Bellucci

      @AnonMom – Please make sure that your loved one is registered to vote for the November election. And remember that if he requests it, he can vote by mail which won’t conflict with any appointments he has for “therapy” or any other requirement.

    • C

      If he received a mail-in ballot it sounds like he is already registered to vote and, I believe, he can go down to his local polling place a deposit submit a provisional ballot.

      • Lake County

        Yes, I think he has till 7pm to go in and vote. I do not know if he has to go into his local polling place or any polling place.

  3. TG

    I have voted in every election since my conviction. I was convicted of a misdemeanor, so it never occurred to me that I couldn’t vote. Nobody has ever told me otherwise.

  4. NPS

    I also voted today. I was up in the air about my local DA but seeing that one of the candidates had an endorsement from a pro-registry Marc Klaas, that candidate’s bubble remained unmarked.

    I’ve also voted since my conviction (and before) and even while I was on probation. The ability to vote while on paper was one thing I researched. I was not going to be silenced at the voting booth.

  5. C

    I’ve proudly voted in almost every election since getting off parole in ’97.

    I started doing the mail-in thing a year or two ago because it was the best way for me to ensure I would not get too busy, or too lazy, on election day and mailed my ballot last week.

    I posted a link to a story a week or two ago about AG Xavier Becerra dumping thousands of mail-in ballots because his untrained staff arbitrarily (?) decided the signatures we’re invalid.
    I’m not sure if my post made the cut here and feel it’s important for everyone, not just RCs to know that our mail-in ballots are not so anonymous as those cast at the polls, and could be tossed in the round file. BTW, the guy that wrote the story indicated during a radio interview that it was mostly Asian citizens whose votes were rejected. Go figure.

    As you can imagine, I did not vote for Mr. Becerra, but did write him a friendly admonishment against throwing my vote in the dumpster.

  6. totally against public registry

    Bravo, Janice! I know you will protect the registrants’ rights. Thank you

  7. A Wife

    Just returned from voting. Last election, our polling place was at City Hall. As I grab my pamphlet on my way out the door today – I notice that this year’s polling place is at the local Middle School.

    Now, my husband is off the registry (CoR), but a few years ago that would mean he could not have voted!

    And no, an absentee ballot is not the same. Any eligible voter has the RIGHT to get in line a nano-second before the polls close. In today’s news cycle that could make all the difference.

    Aside from voting it is an outrage that a parent is banned from interacting with their children’s schooling and extracurricular activities at the principal’s discretion when any thug has the right to attend a public school event.

    Best I could find there is not ONE single instance where a 290 committed a sex crime in a school setting. Not before it became illegal to set foot on school ground, not after, not ever. People committing sex crimes on school grounds are teachers and staff – who have zero criminal background – and other students.

  8. Brian

    I always look into what the persons plans for office are when I vote, if they say anything related to SO laws an stuff like that I skip them and find a candidate who seams level headed.

  9. Nicholas Maietta

    I voted today. I was not registered to vote but I was allowed to today at the polls. I think during the primaries this is allowed.

    I remember registering to vote a few months ago but I didn’t receive any paperwork in the mail and I did not appear on any roster. I find that fishy.

    • Tim Moore

      Fishy, yes, but maybe not having anything to do with being registered. I know a non registrant who sent in his paperwork a month ago and received nothing back. Wonder to how many this has happened?

  10. T.D.A.L

    VOTE FOR WHO?

    Get real people just who the heck are you gonna vote for? Which R&,D hasn’t thrown you under the electronic bus? NONE!

    TO BE SURE voting rights are the basis for all Democratic forms of government.This presumes we live in one. The advent of the database has insured that the current two party system will continue without challenge from alternate groups. The databases are as human nature compels used to impose affirmative disability. In fact, the two parties have at once decided in favor of electronic indenture for sexually aggressive persons duly convicted. Indentured servitude is an historical form of deprivation and punishment. While some claim it (SOR)is simple registration and imposes no affirmative disability, I say unequivocally, they affirmatively disavow the right to remain silent. That one who would disclaim the right to remain silent has been made THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT by the two parties is a direct reflection of the value placed upon the right. The parties do not give a damn about rights, they care about the tax pie and getting elected. They will do anything and everything to maintain and\or advance their position no matter who is in their way. Including using databases.

    After all, how are the authority to know your e-mail addresses unless you tell? So when they asked me, I simply made one just for them:rsolawver@charter.net. I have never accessed the address after its creation. So do not attempt to contact me using it.

  11. Sunny

    My criminal case occurred when I was still young and so the first time I was old enough to vote in a presidential election (2008) was actually via absentee ballot from county jail (in Maine it’s not possible to lose voting rights). Some of the jail guards told me they were impressed that I was still practicing my civic duty even while incarcerated. 10 years later, despite being on both Maine’s and California’s registry, I still vote, and I voted yesterday in California’s primary.

    There have been times where I felt discouraged and felt like my vote was pointless as a registrant, often because no matter which candidate I voted for, they would all support the registry in one form or another. Nonetheless the simple act of voting is a resistance to registration because it allows us to reaffirm ourselves as US citizens with the same rights as everyone else. If you can’t bring yourself to vote for any candidate, at least do it for yourself as an acknowledgement of your rights and value as a human being and citizen of the United States.

    • Tim Moore

      Even if they all are likely to favor the registry, you can always mention to good advantage the fact you voted for a candidate, when you write letters to her or him to influence legislation. It says, “I care and I voted for you, now you go represent me.” Basically, you then speak for thousands, who are too lazy to write letters or even to mail in a ballot.

    • E

      Maine keeps you on the list, even though you don’t live there? Do you have to actively maintain your registration there or does your info just not go away?

      Add Maine to the discouraging list of FL, WI, NY

      • AJ

        @E:
        And MS, where even death doesn’t free you from it. I’d be willing to be LA and AL are similar.

      • Sunny

        Yes, Maine is requiring me to maintain my information on their registry, however I am not required to update it or pay anymore fees, so it looks exactly the same as it did when I moved to California over a year ago. In some ways getting away from Maine’s registry was a benefit because Maine lists my full address whereas California only provides my zip code. Also, Maine was charging me $25 a year to update my information, plus provide my own recent passport-quality photo ($8 at CVS), and California doesn’t charge me anything and they do the photo themselves.

  12. Trish

    What if other person’s told employees incorrect information that damaged, caused losses or forfeitures, or harm or distress or a enormous slew of negative life altering, binding and negating effects ….. would you and I be allowed, permitted to just carry on in this manner, without repercussions ? ? ? This needs to stop at all levels of authoritative abuse and misuse of power !

  13. ab

    What about federal supervised release?

  14. Trying to Understand

    I got a felony so I can’t vote 🙁

    • NPS

      It doesn’t matter if it’s a felony or misdemeanor. What matter is if you did state prison or county jail.

      If you did county jail and are currently on probation, you CAN vote.
      If you’re off paper, you CAN vote.
      If you are currently on state parole then no, you CANNOT vote.

      • AJ

        @NPS:
        It would probably be prudent to qualify the voting rules as applying to your home State, since the rules vary across the country.

  15. NPS

    @AJ

    This post is about voting in California. With a post tag that reads “California”. What other state would I be referring to?

    • AJ

      @NPS:
      You have greater faith in–or perhaps less interaction with–the general public and its attention to detail. People often zoom right past glaring, blatant signs and details, rushing into what a message says.

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