California is one of three states that require people convicted of felonies to complete their prison and parole sentences before regaining the right to vote. If passed, Proposition 17 would give voting rights to nearly 50,000 Californians who are currently unable to vote because they are on parole.
Voting is a fundamental right. The more people exercising this fundamental right and participating in our elections, the better our leadership and policies reflect society overall. Giving a voice to people who have completed their sentences helps people who have been justice involved better reintegrated into society. Being a voter is also associated with better health outcomes.
Voting is also a racial justice issue. A disproportionate number of justice-impacted individuals are people of color. The justice system has a sad history of being misused to deny the right to vote to Black Americans and other voters of color.
A vote for Prop 17 advances United Way of Greater Los Angeles’s mission to transform systems that create and perpetuate poverty. There is a direct correlation between poverty, underperforming schools, and incarceration: the school-to-prison pipeline, as it is known now, is a huge factor in the disproportionate rates of incarceration for Black and Brown Californians. Punishment continues long after a sentence is served, as people with felony records face enormous challenges finding employment.
Engaging voters to make ballot box decisions and giving them a voice in determining their futures is an important strategy to improve and advance underserved communities.
United Way of Greater Los Angeles is proud to endorse California Proposition 17.
Still have questions? Want to know more about why we support this and other ballot measure? Join us at noon on October 30th for a free webinar to discuss the various ballot measures endorsed by United Way of Greater Los Angeles. More information is available here