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Ex-Felons in Florida can now begin the voter registration process – Disenfranchised in California should be able to do the same

Posted by Seth Chazin | Jan 20, 2019

We are pleased to report that, after a ballot measure went into effect on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019, ex-felons can now register to vote in the state of Florida. This amendment overturned a ban that caused Florida to have the highest number of disenfranchised ex-felons in the nation. The voter eligibility pool will now increase by as many as 1.4 million people.

Last November 65 percent of Florida voters approved Amendment 4, which applies to all felons who have done their time and completed the terms of their probation and parole, apart from people convicted of sex offenses and murder.

It is still unclear how the registrations will be treated in the state capital. Civil rights groups are excited for the new measure to take effect, yet they are hoping that the individuals who have their rights restored actually show up to register and vote.

Fortunately for ex-felons in California, the right to vote is restored automatically after you have completed your parole and are no longer residing in state prison. However, you still must register or re-register for any upcoming election.

There are very few things that make you ineligible to vote in California. If you are currently imprisoned in a state of federal prison or serving time for a felony in a county jail, then you are unable to vote. Those that are currently in count jail for a parole violation are also ineligible to vote. If you are on parole with the California Department of Corrections, you are also unable to vote.

Those who are serving a misdemeanor sentence are eligible to vote. If you are awaiting trial, on probation, on mandatory supervision, on federal supervised release, or a person with juvenile wardship adjudication you are still eligible to vote. However, there is still no valid reason as to why an inmate or parolee should lose their right to vote.  We are optimistic that, over time, those that are incarcerated in prison and parolees will also be granted the right to vote.  We are pleased that most ex-felons in Florida regained the right to vote; however there is no reason why those convicted of sex crimes or even murder should lose their right to vote in Florida, especially in light of the high rate of wrongful convictions that take place in our criminal justice systems.  And even wrongful convictions aside, committing a crime should not lead to a loss of one's basic civil rights.  We need a more compassion-based approach to our criminal justice system.

For more information on California voting laws for ex-felons, check out the Secretary of State Website .

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson