The chart below provides links to each state's laws on felon voting and places each US state within one of five categories ranging from harshest (may lose vote permanently) to least restrictive (may vote while in prison).
10 states: Ex-felons may lose vote permanently
20 states: Vote restored after prison term, parole, and probation
4 states: Vote restored after prison term and parole
14 states & DC: Vote restored after prison term
2 states: May vote from prison
Click on each state to view its rules on felon disenfranchisement. Applications for re-enfranchisement and clemency have been provided for the states which require them. You can also view our color-coded map of state felon voting laws.
Alabama - Some people convicted of a felony may apply to have their vote restored immediately upon completion of their full sentence. Those convicted of certain felony offenses such as murder, rape, incest, sexual crime against children, and treason are not eligible for re-enfranchisement.
Arizona - Automatic voting restoration upon completion of sentence and payment of all fines for first-time, single-felony offenders. Second-time felony offenders may apply for restoration with their county after completion of their sentence. Instructions for Voting Restoration, State of Arizona (accessed Oct. 24, 2017)
California - On Sep. 28, 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2466, a bill that allows convicted felons who are serving time in county jails (rather than state prison) the ability to vote from within jail.
Delaware - On Apr. 16, 2013 the Delaware Senate passed the Hazel D. Plant Voter Restoration Act in a 15-6 vote. The act amended the Delaware Constitution by removing the five year waiting period for most felons to regain the ability to vote. People convicted of a felony (with some exceptions) are now automatically eligible to vote after serving their full sentence including incarceration, parole, and probation.
Exceptions: People convicted of murder or manslaughter, a felony offense against public administration involving bribery, improper influence, or abuse of office, or a felony sexual offense remain permanently disqualified from voting.
Florida - On Mar. 9, 2011 the Florida rules of Executive Clemency were toughened. Automatic restoration of civil rights and the ability to vote will no longer be granted for any offenses. All individuals convicted of any felony will now have to apply for executive clemency after a five year waiting period. Individuals who are convicted, or who have previously been convicted, of certain felonies such as murder, assault, child abuse, drug trafficking, arson, etc. are subject to a seven year waiting period and a clemency board hearing to determine whether or not the ability to vote will be restored.
Prior to the Mar. 9, 2011 rule change, some individuals convicted of nonviolent felonies were re-enfranchised automatically by the Clemency Board upon completion of their full sentences, including payment of fines and fees.
According to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition website (accessed Aug. 15, 2012), "If you were convicted of a felony in another state and had your civil rights restored before you became a Florida resident, you do not need to apply for RCR [restoration of civil rights] in Florida."
Iowa - On Jan. 14, 2011, the Republican Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, issued executive order 70, rescinding a law allowing people convicted of a felony to automatically have their ability to vote restored after completing their sentences. The automatic voting restoration law had been instituted by former Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack's signing of executive order 42 in 2005. Felons in Iowa must now pay all outstanding monetary obligations to the court in addition to completing their sentence and period of parole or probation. People convicted of a felony may then apply for restoration of the ability to vote.
Kentucky - On Nov. 24, 2015, Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear issued executive order 2015-871 to automatically restore the right to vote to nonviolent felons who have completed probation, parole, and who have no outstanding court-ordered restitution payments. On Dec. 22, 2015, newly elected Gov. Matthew G. Bevin issued executive order 2015-052, rescinding the previous Governor’s executive order.
As a result, people convicted of any felony in Kentucky must individually apply with the Governor to have their voting rights restored.
Maryland - On Feb. 9, 2016, the Maryland General Assembly overrode the Governor's veto of SB 340 and restored the vote to all convicted felons immediately upon their release from prison. Previously, convicted felons in Maryland had to complete all parole and probation before they were able to vote.
Mississippi - People convicted of a felony are barred from voting only if they have been convicted of one or more of the following specific felony crimes: "murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, forgery, embezzlement, bigamy, armed robbery, extortion, felony bad check, felony shoplifting, larceny, receiving stolen property, robbery, timber larceny, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, statutory rape, carjacking, or larceny under lease or rental agreement."
To regain the ability to vote, an individual, after completion of his/her sentence, must go to his/her state representative and convince them to personally author a bill restoring the vote to that individual. Both houses of the legislature must then pass the bill. Re-enfranchisement can also be granted directly by the governor.
Nebraska - People convicted of a felony are automatically permitted to vote two years after completion of their sentence of incarceration and all parole and probation for all convictions except treason.
Nevada - The vote is automatically restored to all people convicted of a nonviolent felony after the sentence completion. People convicted of a violent felony and all second- time felony offenders (whether violent or nonviolent) are not automatically re-enfranchised. Those individuals must seek restoration of their voting abilities in the court in which they were convicted.
South Dakota - On Mar. 19, 2012, HB 1247 was enacted. The bill took the ability to vote away from convicted felons serving terms of probation. Previously, only people on parole or incarcerated were ineligible to register to vote. Now convicted felons must serve their full term of incarceration, parole, and probation before they may register to vote.
Tennessee - All people convicted of a felony since 1981, except for some serious felonies such as murder, rape, treason and voter fraud, may apply to the Board of Probation and Parole for voting restoration upon completion of their sentence.
People convicted of a felony between Jan. 15, 1973, and May 17, 1981, are eligible to register to vote regardless of the crime committed. People convicted of certain felonies prior to Jan. 15, 1973 may be barred from voting.
Virginia - On Apr. 18, 2014 Governor Terry McAuliffe announced changes to Virginia's restoration of rights process. Under the new rules, people convicted of non-violent felonies (including drug crimes) will have their ability to vote automatically restored providing that they:
1. have completed their term of incarceration and all probation or parole;
2. have paid all court costs, fines, and any restitution; and
3. have no pending felony charges.
On June 23, 2015 Governor McAuliffe announced that "outstanding court costs and fees will no longer prohibit an individual from having his or her rights restored."
On Apr. 22, 2016, Governor McAuliffe signed an order restoring the vote to all 200,000+ felons in Virginia, regardless of their charge, who had completed their term of incarceration and their term of probation or parole. The New York Times reports (Apr. 22, 2016, "Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to Felons") that the governor's action will not apply to felons released in the future, although the Governor's aides say he plans "to issue similar orders on a monthly basis to cover people as they are released."
On July 22, 2016 the Virginia Supreme Court overturned Gov. Terry McAuliffe's blanket restoration of voting rights for over 200,000 convicted felons. In a press release the Governor stated that he "will expeditiously sign nearly 13,000 individual orders to restore the fundamental rights of the citizens who have had their rights restored and registered to vote. And I will continue to sign orders until I have completed restoration for all 200,000 Virginians."
More information about restoration of voting rights in Virginia is available at: restore.virginia.gov
Washington - All people with a felony conviction must re-register to vote after completion of their sentence and all parole and probation. However, the Secretary of State's website states that "your voting rights can be revoked if the sentencing court determines that you have failed to comply with the terms of your legal financial obligations."
Wyoming - "Effective July 1, 2017, W.S. §7-13-105 allows individuals convicted, that are first time nonviolent felons, to automatically have their right to vote restored if they completed their supervision or were discharged from an institution on or after January 1, 2010. Individuals who completed their sentence prior to January 1, 2010, are required to apply for restoration of the right to vote." All others convicted of a felony must be pardoned or have their rights restored by the governor.