Equal Justice Initiative II: Voter Registration, Civic Engagement, and 20MillionVote.org

Citizens’ Institute’s dissemination of our work, and the resources we develop, is accomplished through key endeavors which are part of The Blueprint for a Perfect Reentry Campaign. For our civic engagement work, we disseminate our work through supporting 20MillionVote.org, a 501(c)(4) membership and lobbying organization, the mission of which implement public policy components of Citizens’ Institute’s mission and programming.

Voting is the ultimate act of citizenship and civic engagement. Contrary to common belief, there are only 12 states where felons absolutely cannot vote. There are 38 states in which felons can vote. Citizens’ Institute is firmly committed in this initiative to create voter registration drives in any state where a felon can vote.

Click below on the name of your state to register to vote online or obtain a mail-in form you can download.

If felons can vote in your state, and you are a felon eligible to vote in your state, please register or try to register to vote. Unless you become civically engaged as a registered voter – and vote, or at least give your best effort to register, can you honestly say you are legitimately engaged in your reentry and rehabilitation?

Find your state below. Beside the name of your state you will find eligibility information that tells you if your state has full, limited or qualified voting rights for felons. And you will find information as to how you can restore your voting rights if eligible. While the information below is as clear as we can make it without being overly technical, it is true that voter registration laws can be very inconsistent and difficult to decipher.

REGISTER TO VOTE IF ELIGIBLE

Click on the name of your state to register to vote online or obtain a mail-in form you can download.

Alabama:

Many people with a “disqualifying felony” conviction can register or re-register to vote if they’ve completed their sentence, paid all fines, restitution and court costs, and have no charges pending against them. You must apply to have your right to vote restored. If you meet the criteria for voting rights restoration, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles will issue you a “certificate of eligibility to register to vote,” which you must present when you register to vote. More informationAlabama Board of Pardons and Paroles or call 334-242-8700.

  • Automatic Restoration of Rights: A person convicted of “a felony involving moral turpitude, or who is mentally incompetent, shall [not] be qualified to vote until restoration of civil and political rights or removal of disability.” Ala. Const. art. VIII, § 177. There is no exhaustive list of disqualifying crimes; however, the Supreme Court of Alabama has periodically identified felonies that are and are not disqualifying.  See Ala. Op. Atty. Gen. No.  2005- 092 (March 18, 2005), 2005 WL 1121853 (Ala. A.G.).  For example, assault, felony drug possession and felony DUI are not regarded as crimes of “moral turpitude.”

Alaska:

If convicted of a disqualifying felony, you can register or re-register to vote when you’ve completed the terms of your incarceration, probation, and parole. To register, you must show a copy of your discharge papers. You can obtain discharge papers from your probation or parole office. More informationAlaska Department of Corrections Parole Board.

Arizona:

 If convicted of a single felony for the first time, you may register and vote upon your unconditional discharge from probation or imprisonment, which includes paying any fine or restitution. If convicted of multiple felonies, you must petition the sentencing court for restoration of your rights. If convicted of multiple felonies and received only probation, you can immediately petition the court after you’ve been unconditionally discharged from your probation. If you were incarcerated, you must wait 2 years after you’ve been unconditionally discharged from your sentence, which also includes probation and payment of any fines or restitution. Under all circumstances, you must submit a new voter registration form even if you were registered before your felony conviction. More informationArizona Secretary of State.

Arkansas:

 If convicted of a felony, you can register and vote upon completing all the terms of your sentence, unfortunately including probation and parole. (If you have a pardon from the governor, you also regain your right to vote.) When you register, you must show documentation of the pardon or the completion of your sentence. More information: Arkansas Secretary of State’s Vote Naturally site or 501-682-1010.

California:

 If convicted of a felony, you can register and vote if not incarcerated or on parole. You may vote while on probation. More informationCalifornia Secretary of State, 916-653-6814

Colorado

If convicted of a felony, you can register and vote once no longer incarcerated or on parole. You may vote if on probation. If you were incarcerated for a felony, you must submit a new voter registration form even if previously registered. More informationColorado Secretary of State.

Connecticut: 

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote upon discharge from confinement (including incarceration or a community residence), parole and on payment of all related fines. You may vote if on probation. More informationConnecticut Secretary of State’s website, or 860-509-6200.

Delaware:

 If convicted of a felony, you may apply to the Board of Elections in your county to restore your right to vote five (5) years after fully completing all terms of your sentence (unfortunately including all fines, probation, and community supervision). If you committed certain offenses—including murder or manslaughter, certain sexual offenses, bribery, or other public corruption—you may not register and vote unless pardoned. More informationDelaware Commissioner of Elections’ website, or 302-739-4277

District of Columbia:

If convicted of a felony, you may not register and vote while incarcerated, but may once on probation or parole. More informationDC Board of Elections’ website.

Florida:

If convicted of a felony and all the terms of your sentence are completed (unfortunately including probation, parole, and payment of all fines and fees), you may regain your right to register and vote through a restoration of civil rights process. Based on the type of offense for which you were convicted, the process requires either the approval of the governor and/or the state Executive Clemency Board, or, for the most serious offenses, an investigation and hearing. Upon completion of your sentence, the Florida Department of Corrections will automatically submit an electronic application for you to the Florida Parole Commission, which will determine whether you are eligible to have your right to vote restored and, if so, which process you must go through. If your right to vote is restored, you will receive a certificate in the mail at your last known mailing address. This certificate documents your eligibility to register and vote. More informationFlorida Executive Clemency Board’s website or 800-435-8286

Georgia: 

If convicted of a disqualifying felony, you may register and vote upon completing all the terms of your sentence (unfortunately including probation and parole). If incarcerated for a felony, submit a new voter registration even if you were previously registered. More informationGeorgia Elections Division’s website.

Hawaii:

If convicted of a felony, you may not register and vote while incarcerated, but may register and vote once on probation or parole. More informationHawaii’s Office of Elections website or 808-453-VOTE (8683).

Idaho

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote upon completing all the terms of your sentence (unfortunately including probation and parole). More informationIdaho Elections Division website, or 208-334-2852.

Illinois

If sentenced to jail or prison for a misdemeanor or a felony, you may register and vote upon release. More informationIllinois State Board of Elections’ website or 217-782-4141.

Indiana

If convicted of a crime (including a misdemeanor), you may not vote while incarcerated, but may register and vote once on probation or parole. More information: Indiana Elections Division’s website or 317-232-3939.

Iowa

If convicted of an “infamous crime” (including felonies and possibly aggravated misdemeanors), you lose the right to vote, but may regain this right by (1) completing your sentence (including any term of probation, parole, or supervised release) and (2) having your right to vote restored by the governor.

If you complete the terms of your sentence after July 4, 2005, the Department of Corrections will send your name to the governor, who will consider whether your right to vote should be restored. If your right to vote is restored, you will receive a restoration of citizenship certificate in the mail at your last known address, which you should present when you register to vote. If you completed your sentence before July 4, 2005, your right to vote was restored automatically by former Governor Vilsack, through Executive Order 42. The executive order is proof that your right to vote was restored, and you may need to show it when you register. A copy of it is available here. Whether your right to vote was restored before or after July 4, 2005, you must register or re-register to vote. More information: the Governor’s Office’s website on restoration of voting rights or 515-281-5211.

Kansas:

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote upon completing all the terms of your sentence (unfortunately including probation or parole), at which time the parole board will send you a certificate of discharge that enables you to register to vote. More information Kansas Secretary of State’s website, or 785-296-4561.

Kentucky

If convicted of a felony, only the governor may restore your right to vote. To be eligible for restoration of civil rights, applicants must have received a final discharge from parole or their sentence must have expired, whichever applies. Division of Probation and Parole employees can assist you in the completion of your civil rights restoration application. More informationDivision of Probation and Parole’s websiteState Board of Elections’ site or 502-573-7100.

Louisiana:

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote upon completion of all the terms of your sentence (unfortunately including probation and parole). When you register or re-register after completing your sentence, you must provide documentation from the corrections department that proves your eligibility to register. More information: Louisiana Secretary of State’s website or 225-922-0900.

Maine:

 Felony convictions don’t result in lost voting rights. You may register and vote if you are in prison. To register from prison, apply by mail to register to vote where your home is (that is, the place you plan to return upon release). More informationMaine Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions’ website, or 207-624-7736.

Maryland

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote when upon fully completing your sentence (unfortunately including probation and parole). More informationMaryland Board of Elections’ website, or 800-222-8683.

Massachusetts:

 If convicted of a felony, you may not vote while incarcerated. You may register and vote once on probation or parole. More informationMassachusetts Elections Division’s website, or 617-727-2828.

Michigan

If convicted of any crime (including a misdemeanor), you may not vote while incarcerated, but you may register and vote once on probation or parole. More informationMichigan Secretary of State’s website, or 888-767-6424.

Minnesota

No one can vote while serving a sentence for a felony conviction. Upon completion of your sentence, unfortunately including parole and probation, you may register and vote. More informationMinnesota Secretary of State’s website.

Mississippi

Voting rights are lost only if convicted of certain felonies listed in the state Constitution. If convicted of felonies other than those listed, you may always vote, including while incarcerated. If you lose your right to vote, you may regain it only by a two-thirds vote in the state legislature or by a governor’s pardon. The felonies for which voting rights are lost: murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretenses, perjury, forgery, embezzlement, bigamy, and most crimes involving illegally taking property. More information: Department of Corrections, 601-359-5600, Secretary of State’s website or their elections hotline, 601-359-9372.

Missouri

If incarcerated for a misdemeanor conviction, you may register and vote once released from incarceration. If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote upon completion of your imprisonment, parole, and probation. If convicted for any election offense (misdemeanor or felony), you can never vote. More informationElection Division’s website, or 573-751-2301.

Montana

If convicted of a felony, you may not vote while incarcerated, but you may register and vote while on probation or parole. More informationMontana Elections and Government Services Division’s website, or 406-444-9608.

Nebraska

If convicted of a felony, you may register to vote two years after completing all terms of your sentence, including parole. More informationNebraska Secretary of State’s website, or Elections Division: 402-471-2555.

Nevada

Many people who have completed all the terms of their sentence (unfortunately including imprisonment, probation, or parole) may register and vote, with certain exceptions depending on the seriousness of the crime. When you register or re-register after a felony conviction, you must present specific documentation that demonstrates your voting eligibility. More information: how to register or re-register after a felony conviction (including documentation requirements) contact your registrar or county clerk; a list of registrars and county clerks is available here.

New Hampshire

If convicted of a felony in New Hampshire, you may not vote while incarcerated, but you may while on parole or if your sentence has been suspended (with or without probation). If convicted of a felony in federal court or in another state, you must petition the governor to restore your rights. More informationElections Division’s website, or 603-271-3242.

New Jersey

If convicted of an “indictable offense” (commonly a felony), you may register and vote upon completion of your sentence (unfortunately including any probation or parole). More informationNew Jersey Division of Elections’ website or 877-658-6837.

New Mexico

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote upon completion of all the terms of your sentence (unfortunately including any probation or parole). More informationNew Mexico Elections Bureau website or 505-827-3600.

New York

If convicted of a felony, you may not register and vote if incarcerated or on parole. You may register and vote while you are on probation. More informationNew York Board of Elections’ website or 518-473-5086.

North Carolina:

 If convicted of a felony, you may vote upon completion of your sentence (unfortunately including probation and parole). You must then re-register to vote. More informationNorth Carolina State Board of Elections’ website or 919-814-0700.

North Dakota

If convicted of a felony, you may not register or vote if while incarcerated, but you may register and vote once on probation or parole. More informationElections Division of the North Dakota Secretary of State or 701-328-4146.

Ohio:

 If convicted of a felony, you may not register or vote while incarcerated, but you may vote once on probation or parole. If you convicted twice of violating Ohio’s election laws, you may never vote. More informationOhio Elections Division’s website or 614-466-2585.

Oklahoma: 

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote when the number of years for which you were originally sentenced (unfortunately including sentences of incarceration, probation, or parole) has passed. For example, if sentenced to five years incarceration plus five years probation (for a total of 10 years), you may not vote for 10 years from the date of sentencing, even if you ultimately only serve eight of the original 10-year sentence. Once the time of your original sentence elapses, you may register and vote. More informationOklahoma State Elections Board’s website or 405-521-2391.

Oregon

If convicted of a felony, you may not register or vote while incarcerated, but may vote once on probation or parole. More informationOregon Elections Division’s website.

Pennsylvania

If convicted of a felony, you may not register or vote while incarcerated, but may register and vote once on probation or parole. More informationVotesPA, Pennsylvania’s online voting information and resource center.

Rhode Island:

 If convicted of a felony, you cannot vote while incarcerated, but may register and vote upon release or once on probation. If incarcerated but not convicted of a felony, you may vote by absentee ballot. As part of the release process leading to your discharge from prison, the Department of Corrections must notify you in writing that your right to vote has been restored, provide you with a voter registration form or a form allowing you to decline to register, and offer to help you complete the form you choose. The Department of Corrections must mail your completed voter registration form to the state or local board where you live, unless you refuse to permit them to do so. More informationRhode Island Elections and Civics Division.

South Carolina:

If convicted of a crime (including a misdemeanor), you may not register and vote while incarcerated. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you may register and vote upon release from prison. If convicted of a felony or an election law offense, you may register and vote upon completion of all the terms of your sentence (unfortunately including parole, probation, and any fines), or if you were pardoned. When you re-register, you may be required to show proof that you have completed your sentence. More informationSouth Carolina State Election Commission’s website.

South Dakota

If convicted of a felony and incarcerated, you may register and vote release from prison and completion of your sentence, including supervised release. More informationSouth Dakota Elections Division.

Tennessee

Post-felony conviction registration and voting rights depend on the type and time of felony conviction. More informationTennessee’s Restoration Information or Tennessee Division of Elections.

Texas:

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote after you have either (1) fully completed your sentence (unfortunately including probation, parole, or other supervision) or (2) have been pardoned. More informationTexas Elections Division.

Utah

If convicted of a felony, you cannot vote while incarcerated, but you may register and vote when: (a) you are sentenced to probation; (b) you are granted parole; OR (c) upon completion of incarceration. More information: Utah Elections Office.

Vermont

You don’t lose the right to vote if convicted of a crime. If incarcerated, you may vote by absentee ballot. If you want to register while incarcerated, use your last voluntary address, not the jail or prison address. More informationVermont Office of Elections and Campaign Finance.

Virginia

If convicted of a felony, you may apply to the governor to have your right to vote restored. If convicted of non-violent offense, you may apply two years after release from all state supervision and parole.

These are the eligibility requirements for restoration of your right to vote, regardless of felony type:

* You must be a resident of Virginia OR have been convicted of a felony in a Virginia court, a court in any other state (including D.C.), a U.S. District Court, a military court, or any court of an associated commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.
* You must have been released from incarceration, supervised probation, and parole for a minimum of two years for a non-violent offense or five years for a violent, drug distribution, or drug manufacturing offense.
* You must have paid all costs, fines, and/or restitution or any obligations to any other court, including traffic courts.
* You cannot have a conviction for DWI (driving while intoxicated) within the past five years immediately preceding your application.
* You must not have any misdemeanor convictions and/or pending criminal charges two years preceding the application for non-violent felonies or five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.

If your petition is denied, you have no right of appeal, but can re-apply after one year. More information on your right to vote after a felony conviction.

Washington

If convicted in Washington State Superior Court, you may register and vote if you are neither in prison nor in community custody for that felony with the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC). If unsure whether you are on community custody with DOC, call 800-430-9674. If convicted in another state or in federal court, you may register and vote if not incarcerated for that felony. You must register to vote to receive a ballot. More informationWashington Elections Division.

West Virginia:

If convicted of a felony, you may register and vote when you have completed all parts of your sentence, unfortunately including probation and parole. More informationWest Virginia Elections Division’s website.

Wisconsin:

 If convicted of a felony, treason, or bribery, you may register and vote when you are no longer serving your sentence, unfortunately including probation, parole, or extended supervision. More informationWisconsin Government Accountability Board’s website.

Wyoming:

If convicted of a felony, you may eligible to vote, but your registration might have been canceled or suspended upon your conviction. If convicted of a felony, you may apply to the Wyoming Board of Parole to have your right to vote restored if you meet these qualifications:
* Only one felony conviction (or more than one felony arising out of the same occurrence or course of events)
* A non-violent crime
* You completed your sentence more than five years ago
If convicted of a felony, and you don’t meet those qualifications, but have completed your sentence or a probationary period, you may apply to the governor for a pardon or restoration of your rights. More informationWyoming Board of Parole’s website.

Sources:
Nonprofitvote.org