Can Convicted Felons Vote?

When a felon gets out of jail, they want to get back to their life and they wonder can convicted felons vote. The truth is that even though the Constitution guarantees that citizens have should be allowed to vote, there are provisions for those who have been convicted of crimes. Even though there’s no mandate about whether a criminal who has been convicted should be allowed to vote, there are rules that have been implemented by each of the states for felons.

  • To know the answers to the question can convicted felons vote, it helps to know the history of voting. The Constitution’s 14th amendment grants citizens of a minimum of 21 years old voting rights.  The restriction on race was removed by the 15th amendment and the restriction on gender was removed by the 19th amendment.  The poll tax was removed by the 24th amendment and the age for voting was lowered by the 26th amendment. But there was no limitations provided in the 14th amendment.
  • Another thing that is good to know when you are trying to find out can convicted felons vote is that a felony is a serious crime.  It’s a crime that can be punishable either by death or by over a year in prison.  There are different degrees of felonies – first, second, and third.  The first degree is usually considered the most serious.
  • The third thing to know when you are asking can convicted felons vote is that there are different rules about it for different states.  For example, Virginia and Kentucky don’t let ex felons vote unless they were allowed to through a petition to the governor.  There are thirteen states that let felons vote after getting out of prison: Illinois, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, Ohio, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Utah, and North Dakota. Vermont and Maine let both ex felons and incarcerated felons to vote no matter what their current sentencing or previous convictions are.  The other states withhold the felon’s right to vote until their parole or probation is done.

Can convicted felons vote? When you look at the information above, the answer is yes. The only thing that makes a difference is when they are able to vote and what state they live in.  In every state, felons are able to vote as long as they are out of jail and off of probation or parole, and some states allow them to vote while still in jail.

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