Secretary Of State Sued Over Decision To Make Prisoners Ineligible To Vote

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — Secretary of State Debra Bowen is being sued over a decision she made in 2011 that said tens of thousands of criminals who are serving their sentences under community supervision are ineligible to vote.

The American Civil Liberties Union, League of Woman Voters, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and other groups filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Alameda County Superior Court.

It’s the second voting-related lawsuit challenging Bowen’s interpretation of the 2011 realignment law, which is designed to reduce state prison overcrowding. The first included those serving time in county jails but stalled in the courts.

The latest lawsuit would apply to nearly 60,000 convicts who are sentenced to mandatory supervision or post-release community supervision.

It argues that state law prohibits voting only by those in state prison or on parole.

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