DAPO promotes voter registration for those on parole

The CDCR Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) has partnered with various government agencies, non-profits, and reentry organizations to encourage voter registration for those on parole.

In 2020, California voters passed Proposition 17 which enshrined in the state constitution the right to vote for those on parole for felony convictions.

Since then, CDCR has hosted voter registration events, provided literature, and included information on the CDCR public website.

“Persons on parole supervision have been extended a civic right to vote, we feel it’s important for us to help educate them on that new freedom,” said Carey Haidl, Chief Deputy Regional Administrator with CDCR’s DAPO. “We thank all of our community-based organizations for all of their support and enthusiasm for this initiative.”

Some of the partner organizations include the League of Women Voters of California, LA Free the Vote, Sacramento County Office of Education, and the Pillars of the Community Organization which have all helped offer voter registration through outreach at various events in the community and within parole offices.

Most recently, on Oct. 20, the CDCR DAPO Northern Region Capitol District in partnership with Sacramento Community-Based Coalition, and Sacramento County Office of Education held a community reentry fair in Mather for those released from prison. The fair offered voting registration alongside entertainment, activities, food and drawings.

Michele Dalby, 50, was grinning when she attached the “I registered to Vote Today” sticker to her t-shirt.

“I’ve never voted, never been registered,” Dalby said.

Dalby’s voting milestone was aided by two Sacramento County Office of Education employees who connect formerly incarcerated people with resources. They were smiling too.

“I’m so excited to be doing this,” said Evelyn Fonseca, a transitional specialist. “It’s important that people here register and use their vote. It helps them become part of the community.”

DAPO Gets Out The Vote

DAPO has set up voter education and registration in all parole offices statewide, with the first event held July 7, 2022, at the Alameda Parole Complex. The organizations have continued to set up weekly at the Alameda office and will continue to do so until the fall elections.

On August 2, the Chula Vista Parole Office had a successful voter registration event. The volunteers from the League of Women Voters of San Diego registered several persons on site. They also gave voter registration information to others.

“Californians impacted by the criminal legal system are underrepresented in our democracy. (They) urgently need voter registration services in order to have a civic voice. CDCR has provided important access to grassroots groups to register these new voters,” said Stephanie Doute, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of California. “We believe a critical next step is to expand CDCR’s impact by building voter registration into its routine processes through designation of DAPO as a permanent National Voter Registration Act agency.”

Additionally, DRP has approved voter registration booths in all of the Day Reporting Centers.  Those events have been ongoing at various centers throughout the state. DRP also airs a voting registration public service announcement (PSA) on the incarcerated television network statewide. The PSA provides information on:

  • changes from Proposition 17
  • how a person can register to vote
  • and the deadlines for registration before each Election Day.

Story by Dana Simas, Press Secretary

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