Convicted felons, a rising Democratic constituency, will now be allowed to vote in California while still behind bars in county jails as part of a so-called compassionate effort to "speed their transition back into society," reports the L.A. Times.
Despite receiving heavy criticism from law enforcement, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Bill AB 2466 into law Wednesday, meaning that in January 2017, convicted felons who have not fully served out their sentence will be allowed to dictate the electoral outcomes alongside law-abiding citizens.
Brown has declined to comment on the bill's passage. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), said the bill seeks to eliminate "discrimination in voting."
"I wrote AB 2466 because I want to send a message to the nation that California will not stand for discrimination in voting," Weber said Wednesday.
By Weber's own admission, convicted felons are now a victim class.
"Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism," Weber said when the bill was introduced.
It also means more votes for Democrats.
The few sane members of California's legislature have slammed the bill as a deeply troubling assault on voter integrity, since a convicted felon still serving jail time forfeits their voting privileges the moment they violate the social contract by committing a crime. That contract cannot be reinstated until they have undergone the full penalty of the law.
"It is very disappointing that felons still serving their sentences behind bars will now be able to vote since Governor Brown failed to veto this really bad bill," said Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).
"We believe that there have to be consequences to your action, and the consequences of being a convicted felon are that you can’t vote and you can’t possess firearms," said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn.
Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, actually compared convicted criminals to blacks suffering under Jim Crow.
"California is stronger and healthier when more people participate in the electoral process," he said. "Mass disenfranchisement for minor offenses is a tragic legacy of the Jim Crow era that disproportionately affects and diminishes the power of communities of color."
Look for the slogan "War on Convicts" at the DNC next election cycle.