While having a conversation about the upcoming Presidential debate I asked a coworker if he was going to be voting. He replied, “I wish I could, but I’m on probation.” Whoa… This was a moment in a busy shop, that is normally filled with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul supporters, where two like minded people had a few minutes to chat. The young man I was talking with is quiet about his political affiliations and before I could respond to his statement we were surrounded by republicans, once again.
Once I was back at my desk I did a quick internet search and printed a page from the Northern California ACLU website that I handed to him later in the day. He thanked me with a big smile on his face.
A misdemeanor conviction does not affect your right to vote. You can vote in all elections. If you are on probation or if you have completed your parole, post-release community supervision, or mandatory supervision you CAN vote!
You CAN register and vote if you:
- Are in a local jail as a result of a misdemeanor conviction
- Are in a county jail as a condition of probation when entry of judgment and sentencing have been suspended following a felony conviction
- Are awaiting trial or are currently on trial and have not yet been convicted of a crime
- Have completed parole or post-release community supervision for a felony conviction
- Are on probation, unless the probation is an alternative to serving the concluding portion of a sentence in county jail for the conviction of a CJRA-defined low-level felony
Released From Custody?
If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot but have been released from custody before you received your ballot, you can still vote. Just go to the polling place for your residence address or any polling place in your county of residence and vote by provisional ballot. You can find your polling place online.
The only time you are not eligible to vote is when you have:
- A felony conviction and you are still in state prison or serving your sentence in county jail under Realignment; or
- When you are on parole, on post-release community supervision, or on mandatory supervision.
The voter registration deadline is midnight Monday, October 22!
Use the link at the top of this article to register now! Make sure you complete the process before midnight on Monday. You can also print out your registration form and mail it. Take it to the post office and make sure it is post marked October 22. Every vote counts!
Great clarification, Patty. Many of my former students have asked these questions and have not always known the correct answer.
Patty Jones says
John Lawrence says
California is much better than a lot of states in letting past offenders still retain their right to vote. In a lot of states their goal is to disenfranchise any and all offenders especially anyone in jail for minor drug offenses.
bob dorn says
It’s chilling to think that an intelligent kid caught with a baggie of weed might assume he can’t vote. He’s already disenfranchised before the Republicans have to spend money on ads and lobbying.
Good news for Carl DeMaio’s boyfriend!