Proposition 17

Restores Voting Rights for Persons on Parole

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Would amend the state Constitution to restore voting rights to persons who have been disqualified from voting while serving a prison term as soon as they complete their prison term—essentially extending the right to vote to those on state parole. Proposition 17 is a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass.

Fiscal Impact: Would result in annual county costs, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars statewide, for voter registration and ballot materials. One-time state costs, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, for voter registration cards and systems.



Proponents of Proposition 17 argue that the measure restores a citizen's right to vote after they finish their prison term—aligning California with other states. A recent parole commission report found that citizens who complete their prison terms and have their voting rights restored are less likely to commit future crimes.

A YES vote on this measure means: People on state parole who are U.S. citizens, residents of California, and at least 18 years of age would be able to vote, if they register to vote. (Campaign Website)


Opponents of Proposition 17 argue against the measure because it: amends California's Constitution to grant violent criminals the right to vote before completing their sentence including parole; allows criminals convicted of murder, rape, and child molestation to vote before paying their debt to society; and denies justice to crime victims.

A NO vote on this measure means: People on state parole would continue to be unable to vote in California.

In Depth

People in Prison or on Parole Are Not Allowed to Vote. The State Constitution allows most U.S. citizens who are residents of California and at least 18 years of age to vote, if they register to vote. (Under current state law, people who are registered to vote are also allowed to run for elective offices they are qualified for.) People eligible to register to vote include those who are in county jail or supervised by county probation in the community. However, the State Constitution prevents some people from registering to vote, including those in state prison or on state parole. (People are generally supervised in the community on state parole for a period of time after they serve a state prison term for a serious or violent crime. Currently, there are roughly 50,000 people on state parole.)

County and State Agencies Have Voting-Related Workload. County election officials manage most elections in California. As part of this work, these officials keep lists of registered voters and cancel the registration of anyone not allowed to vote—including anyone in state prison or on state parole. In addition, these officials provide ballot materials to registered voters. Some state agencies also have voting-related workload. For example, the Secretary of State provides voter registration cards and operates an electronic voter registration system.

Proposition 17 Proposal

Allows People on State Parole to Register to Vote. Proposition 17 changes the State Constitution to allow people on state parole to register to vote, thereby allowing them to vote. (Because current state law allows registered voters to run for elective offices, this measure would result in people on state parole being able to do so as well, if they meet existing qualifications such as not having been convicted of perjury or bribery.)

Fiscal Effects

Increased Ongoing County Costs. Proposition 17 would increase the number of people who can register to vote and vote in elections. This would increase ongoing workload for county election officials in two main ways. First, election officials would have to process the voter registrations of people on state parole who register to vote. Second, election officials would have to send ballot materials to people on state parole who register to vote. We estimate that the annual county costs for this workload would likely be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars statewide. The actual cost would depend on the number of people on state parole who choose to register to vote and the specific costs of providing them ballot materials during an election.

Increased One-Time State Costs. Proposition 17 would create one-time workload for the state to update voter registration cards and systems to reflect that people on state parole could register to vote. We estimate that this workload would result in one-time state costs likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This amount is less than 1 percent of the state’s current General Fund budget.

Source: LAO Analysis of Proposition 17


Visit Ballotpedia for summary data from recent polls and links to the complete published polls.

Berkeley IGS Polls

Voter Resources

Official California Documents

Official Voter Guide

Campaign Finance Information

Voter's Edge Campaign Contributions: Total money raised, size of contributions, and top contributors

Power Search: Access and download data from the Secretary of State's CAL-ACCESS System

Nonpartisan Analysis


ACA 6 (Resolution Chapter 24), McCarty. Elections: disqualification of electors. Legislative Analyst's Office.

Proposition 17: Letting Parolees Vote. CalMatters.

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