Just in time for Election Day, Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, released a video in which she and rapper Common urge those on parole to vote.
“At one point this country, state, didn’t want to give you a voice. You have a chance now,” Common said. “You can vote for people who are for you.”
Herod’s House Bill 19-1266 allowed parolees to register to vote and cast their ballots after July 1 of this year.
The state constitution restores voting rights to those who have served their “full term of imprisonment.” That language preceded the adoption of parole by 23 years, but in practice, Colorado denied parolees the ability to vote.
The change in law affects nearly 11,500 people in Colorado.
In 2017, after performing at multiple California prisons, Common laid out his thoughts on mass incarceration.
“What we need is a criminal justice reform that eliminates life without parole sentences for juveniles and includes bail reform and reductions in harsh sentences for juveniles, and gives kids the chance to expunge their criminal records,” he wrote in USA Today.
In the video, Herod told Common that “you have inspired so much of our work here — my work specifically — because you have talked so much about criminal justice reform and rehabilitation, giving people a chance.”