Formerly Incarcerated Voters: Joining the Emerging Californian Electorate

California Calls has engaged and educated 576,000 new and occasional voters who have become an active part of the emerging California electorate. This new electorate, growing numbers of young voters, people of color, low-income, and immigrant voters have begun to impact policies that will make California a better place. They made their voices heard on policies like Proposition 30, which put millions of dollars into our schools and helped California invest in our future.

One group of potential voters who we have not yet reached out to are the 420,000 Californians who are not engaged and often not even registered to vote because they believe they have lost their voting rights as a result of being incarcerated. Many of these people live in the communities that California Calls member organizations already organize. There are also another 280,000 people in California who have lost their rights to vote as a result of being currently incarcerated or serving time on parole.

These potential voters usually have less education, fewer jobs available to them, and are most deeply impacted by budget cuts. Most often, it is these very social and economic factors that set them up for incarceration in the first place.

California Calls believes that every Californian should have the right to vote on the policies that affect them. Currently, our alliance is convening a committee to develop strategies to engage these potential voters. We know that the ability to reach, educate and turn these voters out to the polls could lead to more progressive policies that begin to reinvest in our most vulnerable citizens and communities.