Voting Rights Restoration For Felons / Liberating State-To-State Property



Many of us are still under the impression that once a felon, always a non-voter. But that is not true and we need to make sure those of us who have been convicted know this and, if their state requires some extra steps, that they are encouraged to restore their voting rights (many states have automatic restoration after a sentence is completed, but even in these states a former-felon must register or re-register to vote).

An important thing to note is that, in some states, if you attempt to vote as an ex-felon without taking the proper steps and end up being ineligible it is considered "voter fraud" and is punishable in some states by up to 5 years in prison. You will find details on states that have these types of (oppressive) laws noted in the "details" column. Many thanks to Liberator contributing writer Khia Jackson and T.K. Borsay for their research.

Alabama
Yes
Very Difficult
The right to vote may be regained only through a pardon.

Alaska
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Arizona
Yes
Moderate
1st offense - rights are automatically restored; 2nd and subsequent offenses - must apply to court for restoration; If felony convictions resulted in a prison sentence, felon must wait until two years after your unconditional release from incarceration or completion of parole before felon can apply. If felony convictions resulted in a sentence of probation, felon may apply for restoration of your voting rights immediately upon discharge from probation.

California
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Arkansas
Yes
Moderate
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote. Felons must provide evidence of their eligibility to vote after discharge of their sentence.*

California
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Colorado
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence and/or parole; felon must register to vote.


Connecticut
Yes
Difficult
Felon may regain the right to vote upon submission of written or other satisfactory proof that all fines in conjunction with conviction have been paid and that felon has been discharged from confinement or parole. Felon must submit this information to the office of the Registrar of Voters. Probationers automatically regain the right to vote.*

Delaware
Yes
Difficult
-A person convicted of murder, manslaughter or any felony constituting a sexual offense or an offense against public administration involving bribery, improper influence or abuse of office, may not have their voting rights restored.
-Any other person who is disqualified as a voter because of a conviction of a crime shall have such disqualification removed upon being pardoned or five years after expiration of sentence, whichever may occur first. Expiration of sentence means satisfactory completion of imprisonment, probation and parole and satisfaction of all financial obligations required by the sentence, including restitution."

D.C.
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Florida
Yes
Very Difficult
Civil rights, including the right to vote, are suspended when a person is convicted of a felony. A felon may have his or her civil rights restored by obtaining a full pardon, conditional pardon, or restoration of civil rights from the Governor of Florida.

Georgia
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Hawaii
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Idaho
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and parole; felon must register to vote.

Illinois
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Indiana
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Iowa
Yes
Very Difficult
Must obtain a pardon or a restoration of citizenship from the Governor.

Kansas
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Kentucky
Yes
Very
Difficult Must obtain a pardon from the Governor.

Louisiana
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Maine
Yes
N/A
Eligibility to vote not affected.

Maryland
Yes
Moderate
-A first time offender for theft or infamous crime, other than buying or selling votes, the right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of your sentence, including any probation or parole.
-If convicted of two or more such crimes, a person is not eligible to vote unless and until a pardon is obtained.
-If convicted of buying or selling votes, a person is permanently prohibited from voting in Maryland."

Massachusetts
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Michigan
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Minnesota
Yes
Moderate
If convicted of treason or of a felony, the right to vote is automatically restored upon discharge from sentence.
Discharge occurs either by order of the sentencing court, following stay of sentence or stay of execution of sentence, or upon final expiration of
sentence.

Mississippi
Yes
Very Difficult
Right to vote may be restored by a pardon or an executive order issued by the Governor upon discharge from probation. The right to vote may also be restored by a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

Missouri
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote; however, a person is forever disqualified from voting if convicted of a crime connected to the exercise of the right to vote.

Montana
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote

Nebraska
Yes
Difficult
Must obtain a "warrant of discharge" from the Nebraska Board of Pardons to regain the right to vote; however, if sentenced to confinement in an adult correctional facility, the felon can only regain the right to vote by applying to the Board of Pardons for a warrant of discharge

Nevada
Yes
Difficult
-Felons who have completed probation may apply 6 months after the expiration of their term of probation to have their rights restored.*
-Felons who have completed parole or who have served their full sentence may immediately petition the State Board of Parole Commissioners who may petition the district court for restoration of civil rights.

New Hampshire
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

New Jersey
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

New Mexico
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote. *

New York
Yes
Difficult
-If convicted of a felony and sentenced to incarceration, felon automatically regains the right to vote upon expiration of the maximum time to which he or she was sentenced, or upon discharge from parole, whichever occurs first.
-If convicted of a felony but not sentenced to incarceration, or if the sentence was suspended, felon's conviction does not affect the right to vote."
North Carolina Yes Moderate Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole. For a North Carolina conviction, the agency having jurisdiction over a felon at the time he or she was unconditionally discharged is required to issue a certificate to the clerk of the General Court of Justice in the county where the felon was convicted, and that clerk shall then file the certificate with the original record at no fee. Once this is done, the felon can simply register and vote.

North Dakota
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Ohio
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote.

Oklahoma
Yes
Automatic
Once a conviction has become final and the maximum time set forth in the felon's sentence has expired, his or her right to vote is automatically restored.

Oregon
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement or completion of parole; felon must register to vote.

Pennsylvania
Yes
Difficult
Automatically restored upon release from confinement; felon must register to vote; however, if a felon was not registered to vote at the time of his or her conviction, the felon may need to wait 5 years from the date of release from incarceration in order to vote.

Rhode Island
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

South Carolina
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

South Dakota
Yes
Moderate
In South Dakota, the right to vote is restored upon termination of a felon's sentence. When the sentence has been fully discharged, including parole, a felon should receive a certificate from the Secretary of Corrections stating that he or she has been restored to the full rights of a citizen. The Secretary should file a copy of the certificate with the sentencing court. After receiving this certificate the felon must register to vote.

Tennessee
Yes
Very Difficult
-Persons convicted of murder, aggravated rape, treason, or voter fraud after July 1, 1986, or of rape after June 30, 1996, are ineligible to have their voting rights restored.
-For other felony convictions after June 30, 1996, a felon may seek restoration of voting rights after the maximum sentence imposed for his or her conviction has expired, or after the felon has been pardoned, by petitioning the circuit court of the county where the felon lives or was convicted.
-If a felon was convicted after July 1, 1986 but before June 30, 1996 of a felony other than murder, aggravated rape, treason, or voter fraud , a felon may request that either the board of probation and parole or the authority that supervised or incarcerated him or her during the sentence issue a Certificate of Restoration of Voting Rights. A felon is eligible to request this certificate after either being pardoned or after the maximum sentence which was imposed for the conviction has expired."

Texas
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote; if convicted persons may also regain their voting rights if they have been granted a gubernatorial pardon or release from the resulting disability to vote.

Utah
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement/completion of sentence; felon must register to vote.

Vermont
Yes
N/A
Eligibility to vote not affected.

Virginia
Yes
Very Difficult
If convicted of a felony in Virginia, then a felon must obtain a "removal of political disabilities" from the Governor in order to regain the right to vote. A felon is eligible to apply for the removal of political disabilities if he or she completed the sentence more than 5 years ago and if all court costs and restitution have been satisfied.

Washington
Yes
Very Difficult In order to regain the right to vote, a felon must have his or her civil rights restored. Civil rights are restored by the issuance of a certificate of discharge. When a felon has completed all of the requirements of sentence, the Department of Corrections notifies the sentencing court. The sentencing court then issues and provides the felon with a certificate of discharge, which will have the effect of restoring the right to vote. A felon must then register to vote, unless the crime was committed before 1984.

West Virginia
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon completion of sentence, probation and/or parole; felon must register to vote.

Wisconsin
Yes
Automatic
Automatically restored upon release from confinement/completion of sentence; felon must register to vote.

Wyoming
Yes
Very Difficult
The right to vote may be regained either by a pardon or by restoration of civil rights. The Governor has the power both to pardon and to restore rights. The Governor may issue certificates of restoration of rights upon a person's completion of probation or expiration of the term of the sentence. A felon must submit a written application to the Governor in order to request a certificate restoring the right to vote.

(Source: U.S. Department of Justice, December 2000; Updated by the National Conference of State Legislatures, January 2002; Formatted and updated by The Liberator Magazine, September 2008-November 2014)

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