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Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: All Felons Deserve the Right to Vote

Although the next major election is more than a year away, it’s not too early to focus on who is eligible to vote. This issue is important because the total number of voters, in general, and the groups of people eligible to vote, could determine the result of that election.

I am saying this while watching a struggle in Florida. A struggle about who may be eligible to vote in November 2020 and beyond.

As the number of candidates for the 2020 election continues to grow, the State of Florida is considering whether to prohibit individuals convicted of a felony who have not yet paid court fees and fines from voting, a position that I strongly oppose. I also strongly oppose a recent decision by the State of Florida to prohibit anyone convicted of a felony sex offense from voting.

There is a long and sad history in the United States of America regarding an individual’s eligibility to vote. The earliest prohibitions to voting flowed from the U.S. Constitution which barred some men and all women from voting. These wrongs were subsequently corrected with the passage of the 15th and 19th Amendments to the Constitution.

Unfortunately, after the Constitution was amended many states and local governments created new prohibitions to voting through the creation of obstacles such as poll taxes, the ability to read and felony convictions. Most of those obstacles have been successfully challenged in court, however, one of those obstacles – felony convictions – continue in many states.

This obstacle has caused great harm to many individuals and to entire families whose members have been denied the right to vote for more than 200 years. This obstacle is not based upon justice or even common sense. Instead, this obstacle is based, in part, upon an unfounded notion that giving the right to vote to felons may provide an advantage to one political party as compared to another.
What nonsense! No one can predict the future votes of those convicted of a felony.

The individuals in that group are just that….individuals….who have their own points of view and belong to a variety of political parties. The smart thing for every political party to do is to support voting rights for all felons. If that should happen, then the new voters would not feel an allegiance to only one party, the party who supported their voting votes.

It is time to stop this injustice! Individuals must be given the right to vote regardless if they have been convicted of a felony. Any felon. Including conviction of a felony sex offense.


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What I find most interesting is that many felons and the general public just assume felons cannot vote in any state including CA. It would be great if funds could be obtained to start an advertising campaign to let felons know of their right to vote in many states.

I make it my personal and professional mission to help felons vote, every election.

A person imprisoned, on parole, on probation, subject to any kind of supervision, or etc is still a citizen. Are they afraid we might have a different view than others? I believe so.

If on proba inNY, yes you can vote. P.O.’s discourage it LOL seriously.

In California, felons CAN vote even if they are on probation (I voted when I was on probation). You can also vote while in county jail.

Thank you, NPS, for the reminder that individuals on probation in CA have the right to vote. A registrant in this state was recently told by his probation officer that he did not have the right to vote. After the registrant took the officer a printed statement from the website of the Registrar of Voters contradicting him, the probation officer wisely agreed that the registrant did indeed have a right to vote. This is an example of why it is important to know your voting rights.

When I was on parole in Michigan 8 years ago, and asked about voting, my PO actually encouraged me to vote. Her exact words were “How else would your voice be heard?”

“This is an example of why it is important to know your voting rights.” —– This is also an example highlighting the fact POs don’t know the laws as well as they think they do. My personal experience was a PO telling me Federal Law prohibits my presence on the campus of a college or university unless enrolled. Clearly he was way off base, given the Feds have ZERO residency or presence restrictions. FWIW, this State also has no such law. I also had POs tell me I must carry my SO registration info with me at all times. Again,… Read more »

In California, one can only vote while incarcerated if the individual has not been convicted of a crime, as long as he is not serving an existing sentence at the same time.

@ Eric: Could you please clarify your comment, “….. incarcerated if the individual has not been convicted of a crime”.
How would someone be incarcerated if they had not been convicted of committing a crime? Or do you mean people in jail who are awaiting trial?

@Eric Knight INCORRECT. In the State of California, people who have a criminal conviction CAN VOTE if he/she was: 1. In county jail: serving a misdemeanor sentence (a misdemeanor never affects your right to vote); Because jail time is a condition of probation (misdemeanor or felony); Serving a felony jail sentence; Awaiting trial 2. On probation 3. On mandatory supervision 4. On post-release community supervision 5. On federal supervised release 6. A person with a juvenile wardship adjudication Those who CANNOT vote are those in a state or federal prison; in jail awaiting transfer to prison; serving a state prison… Read more »

I voted a few months back while on felony Probation in CA. Hoping this next election I can work a station.

Thank you again, Janice for once again bringing this to attention of readers, existing and new. Everyone who can vote, should vote. Doing so is not only our right, but our civic duty.

What is the point of a court mandated sentence? Isn’t it supposed to be to punishment for the crime committed?
If so, then why are felons continued to be punished “after” they’ve completed their sentence with denials of the right to vote or being placed on a registry which has no empirical evidence to back up it’s claims of “keeping the public safer”?
How is all this “punishment after the fact” even legal?

Watch Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Voice Support For Voter Rights For All


I heard a 2020 candidate say she opposed those in prison voting because they could be pressured by guards to vote for one candidate or another. That’s absurd! Your rights are abridged because someone else might break the law & violate those rights? So by extension, for example, people cannot go out after dark or ride public transportation because someone might mug them? (And that was from a former State attorney general!)

As if all convicted felons would vote for A FROG!
(Anarchists For Radical Overthrow of Government ….. a political party which does NOT exist.)

We are scum to all EXCEPT if they can use us to get more votes. Well, I for one don’t care about ever voting again. The politicians will turn their backs on us as soon as it suits their agenda, and since everything today is about social perception and not logic or fact, the agenda will be to please the public. Sure you can vote, it just won’t make a difference in the long run. Since I am single now, and my life has been reduced to only caring about myself and those not living in U.S. that I care… Read more »

Then why are you even in this forum? Our votes don’t count? Everyone of those members of the Public Safety Committee was voted into their position. In the last couple of terms, those elected state officials have actually passed bills that helped us or killed bills that would have harmed us.

If you don’t want to vote, that’s fine. Don’t complain when a law is passed that you might not like. And definitely DO NOT ever discourage someone from voting.

@ NPS: I’m with you. Our voices and our presence DID matter in Sacramento. We can – and DO – have an impact. When an entire room of us stand up to oppose a Bill (or support one), the lawmakers DO take notice of us.

A round of applause for our dismotivational speaker, “e” who not only inhabits an exceedingly narrow slice of time and space but can imagine nothing beyond it. His is the trap into which we must not fall, also popularly known as “F.U.D.: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Not fearful, uncertainty is the only certainty in life, and yes, doubtful that it will ever change here. I guess that better than putting my sunshine blinders on, throwing a tickertape parade every time they throw you a scrap, and not paying attention to reality. I do get upset when my life is interrupted by this crap. I also stop for moments and realize the system is so broken that my time is better spent living my life and not trying to save others from this shit. And to NPS, I can come on here and say how I feel… Read more »

Re-read my last paragraph and you’ll have your answer.

I’ve read all of your comments, I think, and I have to say that I agree with them to a large extent. I think it is most useful to be very realistic. But, as I replied to Janice B. the other day when she asked if people should attempt to eliminate the Registries completely and/or just keep working at “incremental” improvements, I think you have to always fight to control the criminal legislators and try to get incremental/minor/significant improvements as you can, but that a person should always include an attitude/statement of “Registries are not acceptable” in everything they do.… Read more »

Obviously voting is very important all these unconstitutional pc290 laws that make people’s lives a living hell people actually voted those laws into existence

I live in San Jose Cal I work at the polling pleces. It’s alot of hard work but it’s reward is that I’m helping in our democracy n them who might not know they can vote or are afraid to I help them to vote EVERY VOICE needs to be heard

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