Proposition 17 would allow people on parole in California to vote. It also would permit parolees to run for office if they are registered to vote, and disallow their conviction of bribery or perjury. This could both help our crime rates and make for an unfair voting system.
According to Calmatters.com, supporters say civic engagement will lead to fewer parolees committing other crimes. Opponents say voting is a right that offenders should receive once they demonstrate they have been rehabilitated, but not before.
This is one of the toughest propositions to vote on because there are a lot of positives and negatives. It is a very controversial proposition because it could help reduce the crime rate in the state, while giving parolees the right to vote while not having the right mindset.
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, and the League of Women Voters in California both support Prop. 17.
The two organizations against the prop. are the Crime Victims United of California and Election Integrity Project California.
Rebecca Edwards, lead safety reporter and in-house expert for safewise.com, completed research on crime rates in California.
“The state’s violent crime rate remained stable year over year, reporting 4.5 incidents per 1,000 people for the second year in a row. That’s higher than the national violent crime rate of 3.7,” she said.
According to 2020 State of Safety survey, 58% of people in 2020 worried about crime on a daily basis compared to 52% of people in 2019.
“California is 26% more concerned about their safety than the national average,” Edwards said.
Two states, Vermont and Maine, allow people to vote while still in prison. Edwards did a safety study on these two states as well.
“The violent crime rate in Vermont is 1.7 incidents per 1,000 people, which is two points below the national rate of 3.7,” she said. In a 2020 State of Safety survey, 42% of people in 2020 are worried about crime on a daily basis in comparison to 31% in 2019.
In Maine, the violent crime rate is 1.1 incidents per 1,000 people, which is less than half the national rate of 3.7, reported by Edwards. In a 2020 State of Safety survey, 29% of people in 2020 are worried about crime on a daily basis and 35% in 2019.
Even though Maine and Vermont are smaller states compared to California, those are low numbers.
If the proposition gets voted in, it will give parolees the same voting rights as innocent California residents.