By Paige Laver
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney of San Francisco Chesa Boudin has announced he is among 95 other prosecutors and law enforcement leaders who are opposed to the increase of restrictions on the right to vote and the criminalization of voting.
Voter suppression laws have been heavily enforced since 2008, and more than 30 states have required voters to present government-issued identification to be able to vote.
Voting laws now make it difficult to cast early votes, making it a challenge for people who work multiple jobs a chance to use their voice and vote.
People of color, people with disabilities, and older adults are significantly impacted by restrictions to their voting rights and this has made it a challenge to exercise their right to cast a ballot, said the ACLU.
DA Boudin said he is advocating for people to be able to vote if they wish, and is fighting against voter suppression, to allow disenfranchised people of color to vote and participate in a society.
Voting suppression doesn’t just occur in the general public. Felony disenfranchisement has prohibited 5.2 million Americans from voting, Boudin notes, adding that in the 2020 election, voting on the California ballot, Proposition 17, proposed to allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote. It later passed.
According to the Sentencing Project, 11 states currently prohibit people from voting who are in prison, parole, probation, and all post sentences, meaning they will never have the right to vote even after they have followed their regulations.
Currently, there are numerous ways that communities of color are prohibited from voting due to their state regulations and being impacted by the Criminal Justice System.
The Sentencing Project found that 6.2 percent of African Americans of voting age are disenfranchised, which is 3.7 times greater than that of non-African Americans.
Additionally, three quarters of the disenfranchised population are people out of prison, living in their communities, who have completed their sentences or are on probation or parole, and 43 percent of disenfranchised individuals are people who have completely finished their sentence.
Boudin supported Proposition 17 and charged, “We want to allow people who have served their time to be fully part of our democracy.”
(Other signers included: Diana Becton, Contra Costa DA, Rob Bonta, California AG, George Gascón, LA DA, )
The current legislation and voting laws allow states to manipulate voting rules that exclude eligible voters and creates discriminatory outcomes.
President Joe Biden reached out in support of the bill and said, “ I strongly support moving in that direction in addition to having an open mind about dealing with certain things that are elemental to our democracy, like the right to vote.”
When Boudin began office he came in with a plan to help San Francisco, and one of his plans included ending cash bail.
He believes that “Nobody should be in jail simply because they are too poor to post bail to get out.”
Similar to his stance on ending cash bail he said he believes in pushing toward The John Lewis Act, which affects people of color who are disproportionately impacted as well as Indigenous individuals.
If this gets passed it can do numerous things, including making new rules for polling places on Indigenous Reservations and requiring states to pay for polling places at no cost to the tribes.
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