Janice’s Journal: You May Be Eligible to Vote (CA)

The mid-term election will take place in about two months. And it is important that your voice as well as the voices of all eligible registrants be heard in that important election.

Many, although not all, registrants in the State of California are eligible to vote. For example, you are eligible to vote if you are currently in jail provided that you are serving a misdemeanor sentence or are awaiting trial. You are also eligible to vote if you are on federal supervised release, mandatory supervision or probation. Finally, you are eligible to vote if you have completed your parole term.

You are not eligible to vote, however, if you are currently serving a prison sentence in either state or federal prison. You are also not eligible to vote if you are either currently on parole or in jail due to a parole violation. Finally, you are not eligible to vote if you are currently in a county jail awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison after being convicted of a felony.

It is important to know your voting rights because it is possible, and perhaps probable, that a law enforcement official or probation officer may tell you that you are not eligible to vote. That is, in fact, what happened very recently when a probation officer told a registrant he supervised that he could not vote in the upcoming mid-term election on November 6. The registrant knew better and provided his probation officer with printed information from the website of the Office of the Secretary of State, a copy of which is linked to the article. After reading the information, the probation officer admitted that he was wrong. We can only hope that he shared that information with his colleagues.

In addition to being eligible to vote, you must also register to vote. Fortunately, there are currently many ways to register to vote including going to your county elections office or applying online at www.RegisterToVote.ca.gov. The deadline for registering to vote for the mid-term election is October 22.

Voting for registrants can also pose a challenge if their polling place is located at a school. That is because a state law requires registrants to obtain prior written permission to enter a school campus even for voting purposes. In order to avoid that challenge, you can request a vote-by-mail ballot that will be sent to your home.

In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Let your voice be heard! Vote on November 6.


Click here to see the official California document:

California voting rights for those with a criminal history


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Thank you for this post. I have made sure to vote in every election since my conviction. It it is much more important to vote since we were forced to register. Most of the public think felons cannot vote in CA. Now if we could just get every registrant to vote, we would have great power. Usually, 95,000 votes is enough to sway most ballot choices.

Please put out a list of all candidates in all offices officially supported by ACSOL; otherwise members may be voting against their own interests. In particular, pay attention to close races. We can discuss the candidates in this thread as well. Thanks.

Sadly, there will be some here who vote for liberal Democrats under the misguided belief that they are the our only chance to see legislation that goes our way. However, we need to remember that our predominately liberal Dem state Congress has passed quite a bit of legislation that wasn’t very good for us, and Jerry Brown, possibly the most liberal governor in the nation, has every time signed these bills into law. The bottom line, we can’t trust either party to do the right thing!


There are many good reasons for registrants voting, but swaying elections may not be one of them. Simply voting may not be possible to turn the most draconian referendums like Jessica’s law. Even if we had the full 95k registrants as you say voting in the last election, registrants would only be 1.4% of the voters (6.6 million). For a law like Jessica’s Law that received over 70% of the vote, registrant no votes at most would reduce the yes vote 2%. We may be able to sway some close races between candidates, or some local matters, but do we have the research about, and can we disseminate the info on which candidate is less harmful to registrants to, enough registrants to make an impact? Some are always going to vote their party anyway, especially when it is unclear which candidate is more registrant friendly.
I think it would be more effective for each registrant to give $1 each for something like a media campaign to fight laws or change public opinion. Media drives all these laws and gives moral cover to judges and lawmakers, as they enact more pain upon us.


RockTheVote.org is a good resource for finding out where candidates stand on issues. Criminal Justice would probably be the most relevant topic to select on that site.

For searching in general, I would look for candidates who support restorative justice. Most restorative justice programs oppose the use of shaming methods.

Also keep in mind that although Republicans tend to be the party of severe law enforcement, don’t forget it was the Democrats and Obama who signed the IML into law. I register Green. I suspect the only party that has our interests in mind may be Libertarians because they would oppose registering citizens. Any thoughts on this?

Janice, Thank you for this. I submitted a request a while back to consider writing an article and i’m so glad to see it. When i’m voting, i “proudly” tell the staff in front of everyone that i’m glad to be able to vote again and that I was previously told by staff in another county that I could not vote because I am a felon.I’ve had a person pull me aside and say “I overheard you say you are a felon, and I too did not know felons could vote. My son is a felon but not in prison nor on parole. I will let him know.”. While it is sad that the chances of finding someone in a room of people with someone they know having a felony is high, it is satisfying to know the chances of successfully spreading the news is also high. I wonder just how many people don’t vote simply because they have a felony on their record from years ago who have their right to vote restored once “off paper”.

I can’t wait to vote again.

San Francisco was the only county to vote against Jessica’s Law and it is no coincidence that the author of the tiered registry, a Democrat, is from there. Let’s not forget the Republicans accused the Democrats of blocking the original national registry for a long time. Soft on crime, they were called then. The Dems had constitutional concerns but the Republicans won out. Since then it’s been a teeter-totter, so I vote on who sponsored a law and for or against a law.

Please clarify. I’m am currently in a Federal Halfway House. Many people here say I cannot vote because I am still considered in BOP custody. The same people also refer to my status as being on Furol. Isn’t Furol the same as supervised release?

but I had to MAIL my ballot even if my polling was 2 blocks down the road. Why? My Polling booth is at a school. SO I had to pay my .50 punishment fee to mail it in.