For Immediate Release: August 7, 2023



LOS ANGELES — Last week, Councilmember Nithya Raman introduced a resolution, co-presented by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Eunisses Hernandez, in support of California Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 (ACA 4), which would lift voting restrictions for people serving in State or federal prison and allow them to cast their vote despite their conviction. 

As of April 2023, there are over 93,000 people incarcerated in the state of California. Introduced by California State Assemblymember Isaac Bryan, ACA 4 seeks to remove part of the state constitution that specifically disqualifies people serving in a state or federal prison from voting, thereby authorizing an otherwise qualified elector to vote. 

“The current provisions not only disproportionately disenfranchises communities of color, but they have stripped thousands of parents of their right to to participate in school board races and other local elections that have a significant impact on the lives and wellbeing of their children,” said Councilmember Raman. “Calling this a democratic system when it fails to give voice to thousands of Californians – and Angelenos – is unacceptable. We must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to vote on the policies, laws, and representatives that affect them and their communities.”

“Supporting this policy directly impacts Los Angeles as LA County has the largest incarcerated population in the US,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “Through ACA-4, our state turns towards expanding Democracy when other states actively aim to diminish it. Ensuring the right to vote for people currently serving in a state or federal prison is the right thing to do.”

“California’s voting restrictions for people incarcerated in a state or federal prison robs thousands of Californians of the ability to participate in the democratic process and weigh in on the laws and representatives who impact their lives and the lives of their families and children,” said Councilmember Hernandez. “This policy disenfranchises the communities of color who are disproportionately incarcerated in our state prisons, adding yet another barrier for folks who are impacted by our carceral systems. ACA 4 is a critical step towards repairing this harm and I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this bill.”

“Initiate Justice Action is proud to co-sponsor ACA 4 in the California State Assembly, and is grateful to Councilmember Raman for leading a resolution of support for the bill within the LA City Council,” said Initiate Justice Action Executive Director, Taina Vargas. “Prison disenfranchisement is yet another racist tool of oppression and represents the continued silencing of Black, Brown, and immigrant voices. Democracy needs everyone in order to thrive, and voting is inherently a right, not a privilege. That’s why we must pass ACA 4, and these local resolutions of support communicate the urgency of restoring voting rights for all Californians.” 

Councilmember Raman’s legislation would require the City of Los Angeles to include in its 2023-2024 State Legislative Program support of ACA 4. The Amendment is currently pending before the California State Assembly.