Voting Rights Restored to Thousands

State Capitol-thumbnailJudge Rules in Favor of Thousands of California Voters

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ruled on May 7th that Secretary of State Debra Bowen illegally stripped tens of thousands of people of their voting rights two years ago, saying people on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and mandatory supervision under California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act are eligible to vote.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for California’s democracy,” said Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “By following the plain language of our state’s voting laws, the court’s ruling will help ensure that in California, one of the nation’s most fundamental rights – the right to vote – will be protected and not restricted.”

The LWV-California joined the ACLU of California and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area in a lawsuit charging the state with unconstitutionally stripping tens of thousands of people of their right to vote, disproportionately impacting people of color.

Our suit asserted that Secretary of State’s Office violated state law by issuing a directive to local elections officials asserting that people are ineligible to vote if they are on post-release community supervision or mandatory supervision. These are two new and innovative forms of community-based supervision created under California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act for people recently incarcerated for low-level, non-violent, non-serious crimes.

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