Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Prisoners and their voting rights

1966 was a very confusing time for the civic-minded ex-burglar

When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus to Folsom or Chino? - Image by Rick Geary
When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus to Folsom or Chino?

Being that next year is an election year, I ponder this question to you: Can convicts vote? — N. Carcerated, Vista

Being that I need to ponder your grammar, why don’t you ponder this one. When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus to Folsom or Chino to stump for that all-important felon vote? On election day, nobody in a federal or state lockup in California will be fretting about what time the polls close. Convicted felons lose lots of rights and privileges, including the right to vote, until they’ve served their prison time and successfully completed their parole.

Until 1966, if you robbed a bank, let’s say, or rustled some cattle (were convicted of an “infamous crime,” in the words of the state constitution), California told you to take your ballot and stuff it. You’d never vote again. You were thought to be “a threat to the integrity of the elective process.” Personally, I worry more about guys like Ollie North than the average pickpocket, but we saw things differently back in ’66. A successful court challenge to the constitutional prohibition set off ten years of legislative paper-shuffling, judicial decisions, and ballot propositions. A very confusing time for the civic-minded ex-burglar. In 1976 we finally decided that only convicted felons still imprisoned or on parole could be barred from voting. (Strange, because you won’t find that wording in the Election Code itself. But if you try to register by mail from Soledad or your first stop out of the gate is the registrar’s office, you can’t truthfully sign the voter registration form, which requires you to swear you’re not imprisoned or on parole. That’s perjury, and you’ll be back behind bars again.) If you’re convicted of a violation of the state Election Code, you forever lose the right to vote, no matter how long you’ve been off parole.

But let’s say our friend N. Carcerated, legally registered to vote and unsullied by a felony conviction, is late to remedial English class one day. He spots a nice little Mustang at the curb and figures that’s the solution to his problem. The cops put the arm on him and take him downtown for booking. Soon enough he’s sitting in the fish tank with the rest of the day’s catch, eating dinner off a plastic tray, and calling collect to all his relatives to snivel about raising bail. If none of the Carcerateds can come up with the dough, can N. legally cast a ballot? If on election day he’s not yet been convicted of appropriating the Mustang, he certainly can. Being charged with a crime isn’t a crime. Innocent until proved guilty and all that. So certain county jail residents would be eligible to vote. But, as you might imagine, it’s not a high priority. One M.A. pal, a former sheriff s deputy, says that in six years of duty in county lockups, no one ever asked for an absentee ballot.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Building paradise in San Diego

Mission Valley, Tijuana gardens, Otay Mesa, downtown skyscrapers, One Paseo, Rancho Santa Fe mansion
When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus to Folsom or Chino? - Image by Rick Geary
When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus to Folsom or Chino?

Being that next year is an election year, I ponder this question to you: Can convicts vote? — N. Carcerated, Vista

Being that I need to ponder your grammar, why don’t you ponder this one. When was the last time you saw a candidate detour the campaign bus to Folsom or Chino to stump for that all-important felon vote? On election day, nobody in a federal or state lockup in California will be fretting about what time the polls close. Convicted felons lose lots of rights and privileges, including the right to vote, until they’ve served their prison time and successfully completed their parole.

Until 1966, if you robbed a bank, let’s say, or rustled some cattle (were convicted of an “infamous crime,” in the words of the state constitution), California told you to take your ballot and stuff it. You’d never vote again. You were thought to be “a threat to the integrity of the elective process.” Personally, I worry more about guys like Ollie North than the average pickpocket, but we saw things differently back in ’66. A successful court challenge to the constitutional prohibition set off ten years of legislative paper-shuffling, judicial decisions, and ballot propositions. A very confusing time for the civic-minded ex-burglar. In 1976 we finally decided that only convicted felons still imprisoned or on parole could be barred from voting. (Strange, because you won’t find that wording in the Election Code itself. But if you try to register by mail from Soledad or your first stop out of the gate is the registrar’s office, you can’t truthfully sign the voter registration form, which requires you to swear you’re not imprisoned or on parole. That’s perjury, and you’ll be back behind bars again.) If you’re convicted of a violation of the state Election Code, you forever lose the right to vote, no matter how long you’ve been off parole.

But let’s say our friend N. Carcerated, legally registered to vote and unsullied by a felony conviction, is late to remedial English class one day. He spots a nice little Mustang at the curb and figures that’s the solution to his problem. The cops put the arm on him and take him downtown for booking. Soon enough he’s sitting in the fish tank with the rest of the day’s catch, eating dinner off a plastic tray, and calling collect to all his relatives to snivel about raising bail. If none of the Carcerateds can come up with the dough, can N. legally cast a ballot? If on election day he’s not yet been convicted of appropriating the Mustang, he certainly can. Being charged with a crime isn’t a crime. Innocent until proved guilty and all that. So certain county jail residents would be eligible to vote. But, as you might imagine, it’s not a high priority. One M.A. pal, a former sheriff s deputy, says that in six years of duty in county lockups, no one ever asked for an absentee ballot.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Kahlee310’s snitch rapper reactions

“He’d literally do anything for the money or fame”
Next Article

Music follows nature – the Moldau, Central Asia's steppes, the Alps, the Appian Way , cliffs of Cornwall

We find Siegfried resting under a linden tree
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close