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Summary of 2009 Voting Rights Restoration in the States

This document provides a summary of voting rights restoration legislation in the states during the the 2009 legislative session.

Published: August 12, 2009

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  • Washington enacted a new law that automatically restores the right to vote upon completion of sentence and eliminates the requirement that people pay all fees, fines and restitution before being eligible to vote.
  • Nevada enacted a new law that requires the State Board of Pardons to adopt an expedited process for restoration of civil rights.
  • The Minnesota legislature passed legislation that would require the department of corrections to notify individuals about their voting rights, but Governor Pawlenty vetoed the bill.
  • The Mississippi House of Representatives passed a bill that would require judges to notify individuals about their voting rights upon conviction.
  • Restoration bills in Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky and New York passed one house of the legislature.


Summary of all 2009 bills

In the 2009 legislative session, a total of 79 bills were introduced in 25 states:  AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, DE, GA, HI, KY, MD, MN, MS, NM, NH, NV, NY, OK, PA, SC, TX, TN, VA, WA, WI, and WY.

  • Bills seeking to restore voting rights to people with felony convictions were introduced in 15 states:
  • Bills seeking to restore voting rights to people in prison were introduced in HI and NY;
  • Bills seeking to restore voting rights to people on probation and parole were introduced in AK, AL, GA, MN, NM, NY, TX and WI
  • Bills seeking to restore voting rights upon completion of sentence, or to reduce or eliminate waiting periods were introduced in DE, MS, TN, VA and WY;
  • Bills proposing a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to certain individuals were introduced in KY and VA.
  • Bills seeking to provide notice to individuals about their right to vote were introduced in 11 states: AK, GA, MD, MN, MS, NM, NY, OK, PA. SC and WA.
  • Bills addressing the legal financial obligations individuals have to pay in order to be eligible to vote were introduced in MS, TN and AL.
  • Bills in AL and MS sought to decrease the amount of the financial obligations;
  •  A bill in TN sought to increase the amount of the financial obligations.
  • Bills seeking to increase information sharing among government agencies to provide accurate lists of disenfranchised individuals were introduced in MD and NH.
  • Bills seeking to provide information or clarification of voter eligibility on registration forms and absentee ballots were introduced in MS and NY.
  • Bills seeking to clarify existing law were introduced in AL, AR and WA.
  • Regressive bills seeking to increase the types of crimes or qualifications that disqualify individuals were introduced in AL, CA, MS and NV.


  • The 2009 regular legislative sessions have ended in all but two states where bills addressing felony disenfranchisement were introduced
  • PA and WI legislatures are in regular session until the end of 2009.
  • Bills in AK, CA, DE, GA, HI, MN, NH, NY, OK, PA, SC, WA and WI will carry over to 2010.