Felon Voting Quiz

The following 10-question quiz is designed to test your knowledge on felon disenfranchisement issues. The answers are at the bottom of the quiz, along with links to related information. The first section is multiple choice, the second section requires either a yes or no answer. Good luck!

I. Multiple Choice Questions:
  1. When conducting an official U.S. Census, prisoners are counted: Felons prohibited to vote sign

    1. At their previous home residence
    2. At their voting registered residence
    3. At the prison they are located in on the day of the census
    4. Not counted at all

  2. Nearly one quarter of all disenfranchised felons (as of Sep. 2007) are in which of the following states?

    1. Vermont
    2. Florida
    3. Mississippi
    4. Detroit

  3. Which of the statements below is true?

    1. South Africa and Canada have no voting restrictions for persons convicted of a felony, even letting them vote while incarcerated in a prison.
    2. The United States bans felons from voting in some states, but not in others. Two states permit felons to vote while in prison.
    3. Belgium bans felons from voting after release from jail if the sentence was for over seven years.
    4. All of the above are true.

  4. Alabama is one of 10 states that impose lifetime voting bans due to specific felony convictions. Poster - Your Country Needs You to Register to VoteWhich of the following crimes does not result in a lifetime voting ban in Alabama?

    1. Treason
    2. Sodomy
    3. Manufacture of Methamphetamine
    4. Possession of Obscene Matter

  5. The U.S. Constitution's Amendment XV is ratified in 1870. It stipulates: "Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or ______________________."

    1. gender - be they male or female.
    2. previous condition of incarceration.
    3. previous condition of servitude.
    4. foreign citizenship or birth.

  6. In August 1965 President Lyndon L. Johnson signed into law ______________________. This Act prohibited literacy tests for voting, and designated that certain areas of the United States could not implement any change affecting voting until the Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect.

    1. The Voting Rights Act
    2. The Count Every Vote Act
    3. The Voter Identification Act
    4. The Declaration of Rights Act

II. Yes or No Questions:
  1. A person is convicted of a felony crime in Vermont, and flees the state prior to serving time in jail. He goes to Texas, where he steals a car. He is jailed for 18 months inTexas. Meanwhile, he retains his home address in Vermont, where his wife and parents reside. Can he vote in a Vermont election while still serving time in Texas?

  2. A California resident is arrested in California for lying to a federal grand jury investigating a crime. She is convicted under federal perjury charges and sentenced to jail for five years. Her sentence is commuted by the Governor, and she is released from jail. However, she is not pardoned, so her felony conviction still stands. Can she vote in the next California election?

  3. A man is convicted in Maine in 1999 for a felony crime. He serves his time and pays all his fees. He then returns to school and gets a PhD in psychobiology. He is hired as an instructor at Florida State University, and moves to Florida in Aug. 2007. Can he vote in Florida in the Nov. 2008 election?

  4. Three sisters live in Seattle, Washington, where they have lived all their lives. All three have felony convictions in Washington. Abigail was convicted of grand theft auto. She served all her prison time and paid off all her fees. Beatrice was convicted of murder. She served 12 years in prison, and paid off all her court debts. Charlotte, the third sister, was convicted of forgery and writing bad checks at the grocery store. She served 18 months in prison, and still owes $240 of her original $5,248 penalty. Can any of the three sisters legally vote in Washington?

Click here or scroll down for answers

III. Answers:
  1. c - Prisoners are counted as residing in the prison in which they are held. Read more

  2. b - Nearly one quarter (22.5%) of disenfranchised felons in the U.S. are in Florida. Read more

  3. d - All of the statements are true. Of 45 democratic countries surveyed:
    • 19 have no voting restrictions on felons, permitting them to vote while in prison or jail
    • 13 (including the U.S.) have selective voting restrictions, banning voting for felons based upon various criteria
    • 11 have a complete ban on inmate voting (voting while in prison or jail)
    • 6 have some type of voting disenfranchisement for felons after their release from prison or jail
      Read more international comparisons on felon voting

  4. c - The State of Alabama Pardon Unit's "Instructions for Voting Restoration" (PDF 18KB) lists the crimes that bars a criminal for life from applying for voting restoration, and drug crimes are not on that list.

  5. c - This clause refers to indentured servants or slaves who lived and worked in the United States.

  6. a - The Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Johnson in Aug. 1965, was amended in 1982 and renewed on July 20, 2006. Read more about the Voting Rights Act.

  7. Yes. All Vermont residents can vote in an election. "If you are serving in the military, attending an educational institution, in a nursing home or health care facility, in prison, or living abroad, the Vermont statutes allow you to keep your residency for voting purposes and remain on the checklist in the town in which you resided." The Vermont resident can vote by absentee ballot while serving time in Texas. Read Should felons be permitted to vote while in prison?

  8. Yes. In California one is only barred from voting while incarcerated. After release from jail or prison one is permitted to vote. Read about the History of Felon Voting / Disenfranchisement.

  9. No. Even though felons are not barred from voting in Maine either during or following the completion of their sentence, this privilege is not transferable to Florida. A convicted felon residing in Florida cannot vote unless they have their voting privileges returned (usually via Executive Clemency or a full pardon) from the state in which they were convicted. Read Do state reenfranchisement procedures fairly and effectively enable felons to regain the ability to vote?

  10. Yes. The first two sisters may vote. Charlotte is barred from voting. Washington currently bars felons from voting if they have not paid off all court fines and assessments, including victim restitution. Read about Madison v. Washington, which ruled on July 26, 2007 that Washington's disenfranchisement scheme is in accord with both the U.S. and Washington state constitutions.

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