An Alameda County judge has ruled that Secretary of State
Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo's decision Wednesday likely comes too late to permit former state inmates and others put under community supervision because of the state's prison overcrowding to register in time to vote in the state's primary elections.
The deadline to register for that election is May 19, and Grillo has given Bowen and civil rights lawyers for former inmates until late May to come up with a remedy. He'll hold his own hearing on those solutions June 4, the day after the primary.
The case centers on Gov.
Under current California law, those who remain within the state prison system or under parole are ineligible to vote. Bowen took the position that community probation was "akin to parole" and carried the same civil rights restrictions.
However, Grillo cited rulings by other California judges who have found community supervision is distinct. In one case, for instance, a judge ruled that those on community supervision could not be charged parole revocation fees.
Grillo also noted that the legislative history of the prison shift "states that a Legislative goal was to reintroduce felons into the community, which is consistent with restoring their right to vote."
Bowen may yet appeal Grillo's order, which likely would trigger a stay keeping things as they are now.
"People who vote are less likely to commit crimes," said ACLU attorney Michael Risher. Encouraging them to register "is just good public policy."