Criminal Disenfranchisement Laws Across the United States

Last updated August 24, 2016

Millions of Americans are excluded from our democratic process on the basis of criminal disenfranchisement laws. These laws strip voting rights from people with past criminal convictions — and they vary widely between states. KentuckyFlorida, and Iowa impose lifetime disenfranchisement for all people with felony convictions — unless the government grants an individual pardon. And they are only 3 of the 34 states that bar community members from voting, simply on the basis of convictions in their past. Navigating this patchwork of state laws can be exceedingly difficult, especially because election officials often misunderstand their own states’ laws.

Click on any state for a summary of its current laws on criminal disenfranchisement. Click here for a PDF version of this map.

States have a range of policies as to whether citizens with pending legal financial obligations (LFOs) relating to their convictions are eligible to vote, and also as to whether and in what circumstances misdemeanors are disenfranchising. These policies are not reflected in the below graphic.

Criminal Disenfranchisement Laws Across the United States

Resources

To read about current advocacy efforts to restore voting rights, please visit the following state pages:

To find our latest publications, blogs, and press releases, visit our restoring voting rights home page.

For quantitative data about the impact of criminal disenfranchisement laws, see the Sentencing Project.

Visit our voting rights and elections home page to learn more about the Brennan Center's other voting-related areas of focus.

Status Key: 

Permanent disenfranchisement for all people with felony convictions

Permanent disenfranchisement for at least some people with criminal convictions

Voting rights restored upon completion of sentence, including prison, parole, and probation

Voting rights restored automatically after release from prison and discharge from parole (people on probation may vote)

Voting rights restored automatically after release from prison

No disenfranchisement for people with criminal convictions

More from Brennan Center: 

My First Vote is a compilation of stories from people across the country who voted for the first time in November 2008 after having lost, and then regained, their right to vote following a criminal conviction.