Sheriff Villanueva Announces “We All Count” Campaign for Voting at Women’s Jail
Just because someone is incarcerated, doesn’t mean they can’t still exercise certain rights, like voting. Many inmates housed in Los Angeles County jails are still eligible to vote. They are also encouraged to vote, and to express opinions through their ballot choices on issues which affect them and their families.
During a joint press conference with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and Registrar Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, the Sheriff introduced the “We All Count” voting campaign. This unique and innovative pilot program was introduced at the Century Regional Detention Facility (CRDF) and allowed eligible inmates housed there to register to vote, become empowered to make informed voting choices, and cast ballots inside the facility.
Population management Bureau personnel and Education Based Incarceration staff engaged qualifying women housed at the facility and determined who was interested in voting. Once eligibility was confirmed, the inmates attended a non-partisan civics course to gain a basic understanding of civic life, politics, government, and a brief history of how our nation and government were developed. Election materials were provided and, if an inmate was not registered, she was assisted through the process.
In past practices, participating inmates used the vote-by-mail process, either through their facility voting coordinator or their own designee. However, on Saturday, February 22, 2020 and Sunday, February 23, 2020, as part of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s voting campaign, they made ballot marking devices available to the eligible women inside the jail facility. This is a unique and innovative event, to increase civic engagement for justice-involved residents.
The press conference took place at the doorstep of the CRDF housing facility on Sunday, February 23, 2020, where the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk also made voting available to the public that day, inside of a temporary, mobile polling booth. This was to encourage local members of the community, visitors and even facility personnel to vote early through its location of convenience.
“I’m pleased to say that almost 2,200 inmates throughout all Los Angeles County housing facilities chose to participate in voting and were registered,” said Sheriff Villanueva.
Eligibility for incarcerated persons to vote is determined by several factors. Participants must be:
- 18 years of age or older,
- a citizen of the united states,
- awaiting trial or on trial for any crime,
- in jail for a misdemeanor conviction,
- in jail on a probation violation,
- in jail on felony probation,
- or are serving a county jail sentence under the California public safety realignment act, Assembly Bill 109.
The only time a person cannot vote while in county jail is if they are:
- awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison for a felony conviction,
- in jail for a parole violation,
- serving a state prison sentence under a contract with a county jail,
- currently deemed mentally incompetent to vote by a court.