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Thousands Of California Convicts To Regain Voting Rights

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SACRAMENTO (AP) —

California is restoring voting rights for tens of thousands of criminals serving sentences under community supervision.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Tuesday announced a settlement between the state and civil liberties groups that had sued over the issue.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California had filed a lawsuit on behalf of nearly 60,000 convicts who became ineligible to vote when former Secretary of State Debra Bowen determined community supervision was equivalent to parole.

It stemmed from a 2011 realignment of the state’s criminal justice law. It aims to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by sending people who are convicted of less serious crimes to county jails or alternative treatment programs.

A superior court judge overturned Bowen’s decision in 2014, saying community supervision and parole are distinct.