It’s a widely-held misconception that a person who has been convicted of a felony never again has the right to vote. Often, that misconception is spread within prisons. Many people stop voting after they’re released from prison because they believe that they’re no longer allowed to.
In fact, unless the charge involved some type of election-related crime like voter fraud, most people can have their voting rights restored at some point.
Laws regarding the right of felons to vote vary by state. In Georgia, a person loses his or her right to vote while incarcerated for a felony and for as long as he or she is on probation or parole. However, once the person is no longer on any type of supervised release, it’s possible to re-register to vote. That’s the case in the majority of states.
In some states, however, people can re-register to vote once they’ve finished serving their sentence, even if they’re still on parole or probation. Some states require a court authorization to restore voting rights. In only two states, in New England, people incarcerated for a felony have the right to vote while in prison.
Regaining the right to vote can present its fair share of challenges. Communication among elections officials, parole boards and courts can be less than efficient. this is just one more reason why it’s far preferable to get a felony charged reduced to a misdemeanor if possible.
If you are having difficulty re-registering to vote, or if a loved one is incarcerated but has not yet been convicted, a Georgia criminal defense attorney can provide guidance.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, “Felon Voting Rights,” accessed Nov. 03, 2016