Felony Conviction and Voting Rights
The concept of stripping a criminal’s right to vote originated in ancient Greece and Rome, and was brought from Europe to the new world by the colonists.
In the 2008 elections, 5.3 million Americans (1 in 40 adults) were unable to vote due to a felony conviction (The Sentencing Project). This included 1.4 million African-American men, more than 676,000 women, and 2.1 million ex-offenders who have completed their sentences.
Each state treats disenfranchisement differently. In Maine and Vermont, felons may vote while they are incarcerated. In Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia, felons and ex-felons need a pardon from the governor to restore their right to vote. Virginia and Florida have a path to gubernatorial pardons. Each of the other 45 states has a different approach..
In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons may vote when their sentence is completed. In some states, ex-felons must wait for a certain period of time, and in others an ex-felon must apply to have voting rights restored.
Laws governing restoration of voting rights in 50 states and D.C.
Arizona AZ +
District Of Columbia
Iowa IA +
Kansas KS +
Mississippi MS +
Nevada NV +
North Carolina NC +