“Free the Vote” Has Passed the Assembly

Free the Vote Group photo

In a close vote, ACA 6, also known as part of the “Free the Vote” Act, passed the Assembly Thursday, September 5th.

President Carol Moon Goldberg of the League of Women Voters of California in a statement to League members thanked them for taking action by sending hundreds of emails and making phone calls to their Assembly members. However, President Goldberg also expressed that it will be vital for League members to continue to fight for ACA 6 as it progresses through the State Senate.

“In order to get this on the ballot, we need to get ACA 6 through the State Senate. We will continue to count on you in the coming days – keep an eye out for more action alerts!” said Goldberg in the statement.

ACA 6, which the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville has voted in favor of, is a measure aimed to restore voting rights to Californians on parole.

Currently, nearly 50,000 Californians on parole pay taxes at the local, state, and federal levels yet are unable to vote at any level of government. Nationwide, 4.6 million people are ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction.

If passed, ACA 6 would restore voting rights to Californians on parole, allowing them to increase their civic engagement and participate in our state’s democracy.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), who introduced the legislation in January, said that this increase in civic engagement will have several positive benefits.

“ACA 6 will eliminate an arbitrary barrier to voting, reduce recidivism, and give formerly incarcerated people an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to become productive, contributing members of our society,” McCarty wrote in an article for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California.

ACA 6 would also be significant because it combats felony disenfranchisement, which McCarty explained in the ACLU article “is a form of voter suppression that is rooted in racially discriminatory Jim Crow laws… Voter suppression tactics consistently exclude Black and Brown people from our democracy.”

The “Free the Vote” Act is comprised of two parts, ACA 6 and AB 646. ACA 6 will “ask California voters to restore the right to vote to people on parole on the 2020 ballot.” AB 646 will “enact corresponding changes to California’s Elections code,” according to McCarty.

The next step in passing ACA 6 is a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Take action by signing up to be a Free the Vote CA Volunteer http://bit.ly/FreeTheVoteVolunteer, writing a letter of support using this template, or asking your California senator to vote yes on ACA 6.

All League News