Proposition 17

Election Guide: Here's What You Need to Know About Proposition 17

If approved by voters, 50,000 California felons would have their voting rights restored once they leave prison.

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Restoring the right to vote for people with felonies and who are on parole.

It's an issue Californians will be able to make a decision on in the November election with Proposition 17.

If the proposition passes, 50,000 California felons would have their voting rights restored once they leave prison.

"We're considered less-class citizens not recognized for changes and progress we are making," said Niki Martinez with the Yes on Proposition 17 campaign.

Martinez as a San Diego teenager was tried and convicted as an adult for murder. She served 25 years in prison and has been a free woman for a year and a half.

Martinez has spent her time fighting for felons on parole to have the right to vote.

Prop 17 is a proposed California constitutional amendment that would allow felons who have completed their prison terms, but are still on parole, to vote.

Not everyone is in favor of the proposition.

"We don't see any advantages for them to vote until they fulfilled their obligation to society," said John Dennis, San Francisco GOP chairperson.

Dennis is against the proposed amendment because he feels people who have committed serious crimes should follow the current rules.

"We don't feel like it's too much to ask for them to buy their time, be patient, come out on the other side of parole to be able to vote again," Dennis said.

Not all states have a total ban on voting by former felons on parole -- 18 states and the District of Columbia allows voting rights to be restored after prison.

Felons can have their voting rights restored after prison and parole in California and Connecticut.

Martinez believes voting restoration should take place once you serve your time in prison, not after parole.

"Here I am paying taxes. Here I am going to school," she said. "Yet I am completely voiceless. I am completely irrelevant. I am not even a citizen of a state that I was deemed suitable to return to."

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