SAN FRANCISCO (AP/CBS SF) – A ballot measure restoring the right to vote for felons on parole has been decisively passed by California voters.

Proposition 17, which more than 60 percent of voters had approved late Tuesday, will change the state Constitution to allow an estimated 50,000 felons on parole to vote.

Supporters said the parolees have paid their debt to society and should be able to shape the policies that affect their lives. Opponents said restoring rights early to felons is a slap in the face to their victims.

Authored by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a Democrat representing the 7th Assembly District, Prop 17 garnered support from lawmakers in Northern California. Last September, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to endorse the measure.

Passage now places California alongside 19 other states that already allow residents on parole for felony convictions to vote upon finishing their sentences and being released.

“Everyone has a past. That past should not determine someone’s future,” Councilmember Lan Diep said.

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