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Disenfranchisement Laws

Disenfranchisement laws exclude millions of Americans from participating in our democracy. The Brennan Center tracks these laws state by state.

Overview

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. Kentucky and Iowa impose lifetime disenfranchisement for all people with felony convictions, unless the government grants an individual pardon. And they are only two of the 32 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.

In the map below, click on any state for a summary of its current laws on criminal disenfranchisement. States have a range of policies as to whether citizens with pending legal financial obligations relating to their convictions are eligible to vote, and also as to whether, and under what circumstances, misdemeanors are disenfranchising. These policies are not reflected in this map.

Criminal Disenfranchisement Laws Across the United States

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