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Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People

Every state has laws outlining who is eligible to vote, and almost all states restrict voting for those who are currently incarcerated for a felony offense—though a few states allow citizens to vote while incarcerated. States differ on when and how formerly incarcerated people can have their voting rights restored.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • Voting rights are never lost (2 states + D.C.)
  • Voting rights are automatically restored upon release from incarceration (23 states)
  • Voting rights are lost until full completion of sentence, including probation and parole (14 states)
  • Additional action is required post-sentence to restore voting rights (11 states)
Note: In August 2023, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mississippi's law requiring that people convicted of certain felonies be permanently disenfranchised was unconstitutional. The state appealed the ruling to the full 5th Circuit, who agreed to rehear the case and vacate the previous decision. As a result, the law that was previously struck down is now back in place pending a decision of the full 5th Circuit on rehearing.

Recommended citation:  Movement Advancement Project. "Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People" https://www.mapresearch.org/democracy-maps/voting_rights_for_formerly_incarcerated_people. Accessed 08/07/2023.

Breakdown by Population

*Note: These percentages reflect the voting-eligible population, as reported by the United States Election Project.

1%

1 % of population lives in states where voting rights are never lost

53%

53 % of population lives in states where voting rights are automatically restored upon release from incarceration

27%

27 % of population lives in states where voting rights are lost until full completion of sentence, including probation and parole

19%

19 % of population lives in states where additional action is required post-sentence to restore voting rights



Data current as of 04/11/2024
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The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

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