Recent State Action

California 

Proposition 17 

  • Will end felony disenfranchisement for people on parole in California

  • Restore the right to vote for 10s of thousands of Californians 

 

Will be on the ballot in November 

DC

Bill 23-324

  • Allows felons to vote while incarcerated 

  • Proactively mails absentee ballots to DC residents held at local jails and federal prisons across the County 

  • On its way to the Mayor to be vetoed/passed 

Joins Vermont and Maine!

  • In 2019 Nevada enacted AB 431, restoring the right to vote to anyone convicted of felony upon release from prison. Previous to this legislation, first-time, non-violent offenders could have rights restored upon completion of sentence but those that had committed a violent crime or two or more felonies had to petition a court to grant the restoration of civil rights.

  • In 2019 Colorado enacted HB 1266 giving voting rights to individuals on parole, putting it in the category of states that only disenfranchise those who are in prison. 

  • In 2019 Washington enacted SB 5207 requiring that inmates are notified in writing of the process for restoration of voting rights before leaving the authority of the department of corrections.

  • In 2019 Illinois enacted SB 2090 to require election authorities in a county with a population over 3 million to collaborate with the primary county jail where eligible voters are confined or detained to facilitate an opportunity for voting by mail for eligible voters. Illinois also enacted HB 2541 requiring the departments of corrections and juvenile justice to provide nonpartisan peer-led civics programs throughout the correctional institutions on voting rights, governmental institutions, current affairs, and simulations of voter registration, election and democratic processes. 

  • In 2019 Oklahoma HB 2253 clarified that persons convicted of a felony shall be "eligible to register to vote when they have fully served their sentence of court-mandated calendar days, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by the court." 

  • In July 2019, SB 7066 was signed by the governor of Florida which defined “completion of sentence” to include: release from imprisonment, termination of  any ordered probation, fulfillment of any terms ordered by the courts, termination of any ordered supervision, full payment of any ordered restitution and the full payment of any ordered fines, fees or costs.

  • In 2018 Florida passed a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment to automatically restore the voting rights of felons after completion of their sentences (including parole and probation). Those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense must still apply to the governor for voting rights restoration on a case by case basis. Before the amendment, anyone convicted of a felony had to have voting rights restored by a full pardon, conditional pardon, or restoration of civil rights by the governor. The Executive Clemency Board set the rules for restoration of civil rights, which at the time the amendment passed, included a 5- or 7-year waiting period and a list of crimes for which an individual could never apply for rights restoration.

  • In 2018, Colorado SB 150 permitted an individual on parole, who is otherwise eligible, to pre-register to vote. When the secretary of state receives notification that the individual has been released from parole, he/she is then registered to vote.

  • In 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order removing the restriction on parolees voting. New York already allows those on probation to vote. The order may be challenged in court.

  • In 2017, Alabama HB 282 provided a list of felonies that involve “moral turpitude” that disqualify a person from exercising his or her right to vote. Previously there was no comprehensive, authoritative source for defining a disenfranchising crime in Alabama.

  • In 2017, Wyoming enacted HB75 automatically restoring the rights of nonviolent felons.

  • In 2017, Louisiana enacted HB 168 improving reporting requirements between The Department of Public Safety and Corrections and the Department of State.

  • In 2016, California passed legislation allowing those in county jails to vote while incarcerated, but not state or federal prison. In 2017 California passed additional legislationrequiring information be provided about voting rights restoration on the internet and in person to felons exiting prison.

  • In 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced an executive order automatically restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have completed their prison sentence and their term of supervised release (parole or probation) as of April 22. This decision was a source of contention with the legislature. In July 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned the order. 

  • In 2016, Maryland's legislature enacted HB 980 and SB 340 (overriding a veto) so that voting rights are automatically restored after completion of the term of incarceration.

  • In 2015, outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order to automatically restore the right to vote (and to hold public office) to certain offenders, excluding those who were convicted of violent crimes, sex crimes, bribery, or treason. The order was reversed by incoming Governor Matt Bevin

  • In 2015, Wyoming enacted HB 15 requiring the department of corrections to issue a certification of the restoration of voting rights to certain non-violent felons after completion of sentence.

  • In 2013, Delaware eliminated the five-year waiting period before voting rights are restored.

  • In 2013, Virginia Governor McDonnell signed an executive order creating new rights restoration processes for persons with prior felony convictions.

  • In 2012, South Dakota mandated that felons on probation would not have voting rights restored. Previously, only felons on parole or incarcerated had their voting rights suspended.

  • In 2011, the Florida Board of Executive Clemency (comprised of the governor and three cabinet members) reversed a 2007 policy change that automatically restored voting rights to non-violent offenders upon the completion of their sentence. The new policy requires that all ex-felons wait between five and seven years depending on the crime before applying to regain voting rights.

  • In Iowa, the governor in 2011 reversed an executive order issued in 2005 under the previous governor. The 2005 order automatically restored the voting rights of all ex-felons, but under the 2011 order, they will now have to apply to regain rights.

  • In 2011 in Tennessee, HB 1117 was enacted, adding to the list of felons who are not eligible for automatic restoration.

  • In 2009, Washington restored the right to vote to felons who completed their sentences, while requiring them to re-register to vote.

Between 1996 and 2008, 28 states passed new laws on felon voting rights.

  • Seven repealed lifetime disenfranchisement laws, at least for some ex-offenders.

  • Two gave probationers the right to vote.

  • Seven improved data-sharing procedures among state agencies.

  • Nine passed requirements that ex-offenders be given information and/or assistance in regaining their voting rights at the time they complete their sentence.

  • Twelve simplified the process for regaining voting rights, for instance, by eliminating a waiting period or streamlining the paperwork process.