By Alexei Koseff
August 16, 2016 – 12:44 PM
California could soon restore voting rights for tens of thousands of felons who are not serving their sentences in the state prison system.
The state Senate on Tuesday passed Assembly Bill 2466 by a vote of 23-13, sending it to governor’s desk for consideration. The controversial measure clarifies that anyone convicted of a felony who is not currently imprisoned or on parole is allowed to vote.
AB 2466 was prompted by a 2014 lawsuit on behalf of low-level felons sentenced to county jurisdictions under the state’s criminal justice realignment law to reduce prison overcrowding.
The California Constitution prohibits anyone in prison or on parole for a felony from voting. But under the 2011 realignment law, some offenders now serve their sentences in county jails or are monitored by county probation instead.
An Alameda Superior Court judge ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, and Secretary of State Alex Padilla dropped the appeal last August, citing the need to re-engage inmates in society to reduce recidivism.
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