Voting Laws Have Changed— Are You Eligible?

An image of a 'Register to Vote' folder with a ballot inside, signaling the theme of the blog on changed voting laws and eligibility, urging individuals to stay informed and exercise their right to vote.

Over the last few decades, reform efforts have worked to reinstate voting rights for justice-involved individuals. From 2016 to 2020, 13 states have expanded voting rights for individuals with felony convictions, but only a quarter made it back to the polls1. These rights vary by state, and with so many different variables, it’s may be difficult to know if you’re eligible. In addition, many individuals are not aware that they are responsible to re-register through the normal voting process.

Voting Rights by State After a Felony Conviction2

Never Lose Right to VoteLost Only While Incarcerated | Automatic Restoration After ReleaseLost Until Completion of Sentence (Parole and/or Probation) | Automatic Restoration AfterLost Until Completion of Sentence | In Some States, a Post-Sentencing Waiting Period | Additional Action Required for Restoration
Washington D.C.CaliforniaAlaskaAlabama
MichiganNew MexicoTennessee
MontanaNorth CarolinaVirginia
New HampshireSouth Carolina
New JerseySouth Dakota
New YorkTexas
North DakotaWest Virginia
Rhode Island

Know Your Rights as a Returning Citizen

If you lose the right to vote due to a conviction, don’t get discouraged. With the right steps, many people are able to restore the right to vote. It’s important to understand your state’s laws and the steps you may need to take to reinstate your rights. The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Guide to State Voting Rules That Apply After a Criminal Conviction provides a thorough overview by state.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance from legal professionals, case managers, therapists, family, and friends. If you need help growing a support network, you can find a mentor to assist you through the process and bridge connections in your community.


Published On: June 20th, 2022|Categories: Legal Resources|

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