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Felon Voting Rights in the US

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Can Convicted Felons Vote?

With the presidential election right around the corner, it is a good opportunity to discuss voting rights for currently and formerly incarcerated felons in the US. Each state has its own laws on voting rights for convicted felons, and many people get confused about whether or not they are allowed to vote because of the varying state-to-state laws. Historically, convicted felons have been disenfranchised from voting but today, about 5.85 million Americans with felony convictions do not vote, in part, because they misinterpret their state’s voting laws.

As such, our Columbia criminal defense lawyer is here to help you understand each state’s voting laws for formerly incarcerated felons, as outlined by the NCSL. The NCSL breaks down all 50 states’ voting laws into four categories.

Felons cannot vote until they complete their sentence. In some states, they cannot vote until their post-sentence waiting period is completed. Additional actions are required to restore felons’ voting rights.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

In Florida, those with murder or felony sexual offense convictions cannot vote.

Felons cannot vote until they complete their sentence, including probation and parole. Felons’ voting rights are automatically restored after they complete their sentence.

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

In California, people in county jail can vote as of 2016. Governor Cuomo of New York signed an executive order in 2018 removing parolees’ voting restrictions. Probationers in New York can vote.

Felons in prison cannot vote. Their voting rights are automatically restored after release.

  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah

In Maryland, convictions for buying or selling votes can only be restored through pardon.

Everyone can vote; no one loses the right to vote.

  • Vermont
  • Maine

If you were convicted of a felony in South Carolina, you may vote upon the completion of your sentence. Your voting rights will be automatically restored but you must re-register through the normal voter registration process to do so. Our attorneys know, however, that it can be easy to get confused about your rights and responsibilities regarding your voting rights. Thus, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Masella Law Firm, P.A. at (803) 938-4952 today!