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Can I Vote if I Have Been Convicted of a Felony?

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A felony conviction is not the end of voting rights in Georgia. If you were convicted of a felony and have completed the terms of your felony sentence, you most likely are able to vote. If you are still in jail or on probation, then you probably are not eligible. 

The rules around convicted felons are confusing, particularly since one of the general voting requirements is that you not be serving a felony sentence. Here are some frequently asked questions around felony conviction and voting: 

How do I know if I have completed the terms of my felony sentence and am eligible to vote? 

If you have completed all of the following, then you have met the terms of your felony sentence and should be eligible to vote:

  • Completed all required terms of incarceration;
  • Finished all mandated terms of probation;
  • Completed all required terms of parole; and
  • Paid all fines or the unpaid fines were canceled (such as a fine imposed as a condition of probation that is automatically canceled when probation is complete).

Fines have been an especially confusing area. The Georgia Secretary of State’s office recently updated its voter registration page to note that a felony sentence is considered complete even if an individual owes other fines, unpaid restitution, fees, costs, or other surcharges.

Do I have to prove that I have completed the terms of my felony sentence in order to vote 

In Georgia, your right to vote is automatically restored once you have met all the terms of your felony sentence. If you registered to vote before the voter registration deadline, you may vote at your registered polling place.

What if I plead nolo contendere and am still serving my sentence?

Nolo contendere, or no contest, pleas are exceptions to the rule. If you plead nolo contendere, you are eligible to vote even if you have not completed the terms of your sentence.

What if I was sentenced under the First Offender Act?

You can vote if you were sentenced under the First Offender Act and your sentence has not been revoked. If your first offender sentence was revoked, then you are not eligible to vote until you have completed all terms of your sentence.

What if I was sentenced under the Conditional Discharge Statute?

If you were sentenced under this statute and your sentence has not been revoked, then you are eligible to vote.

What if I was convicted of a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor conviction alone will not stop you from being able to vote, so long as you meet all the other qualifications.

Any other restrictions to voting?

In order to vote, even after finishing the terms of your sentence, you must be registered, have a valid photo ID, and meet all general requirements, which are:

  • U.S. citizen or legal resident;
  • 18 years old by Election Day;
  • Not been found mentally incompetent by a judge.

Call the Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys at Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm

If you or your child have a criminal record and need help seeking a record sealing or restoration of your rights, the experienced criminal attorneys at Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm can help. Contact us at 770-720-6336.

 
Paul Ghanouni

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