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.)
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