In California, voting rights are restored automatically following a release from prison or discharge from parole. If you are currently on probation, you can vote as well. The only time your right to vote is denied is if you are still in prison serving time or in a county jail under realignment.
If you have a misdemeanor conviction in California, your right to vote is not affected. You can participate in all elections. If you do have a felony conviction, you are able to vote –
· Again – if you are on probation. (Even if part of the condition of probation is to serve time in jail).
· If you have completed probation
· If you are waiting on a court decision about a probation violation
· If you have completed post-release community supervision or parole
· If you have completed mandatory supervision
THE ACLU outlines the specifics about voting rights for felons on its site. You can find out more details by clicking this link.
Felon Voting Law in California
If you are in jail, you are entitled to vote –
· If you are awaiting trial for a crime;
· If you are serving time for a misdemeanor conviction;
· If you are on a probation violation; or
· If you are, as mentioned, on felony probation.
You cannot vote –
· If you are in jail awaiting transfer to prison for committing a felony
In basic terms, California law says you have the right to vote if you are on probation, off parole and off any other community supervision. Even if you have been in prison in the past, you can vote in California. As long as you are not currently in prison, on parole or under post-release community or mandatory supervision, you can vote.
How a Felon in California Can Restore Their Voting Rights
In California, you do not have to do anything to restore your voting rights as they are automatically restored after you have completed your parole and are no longer residing in state prison. However, you still must register or re-register to vote in any upcoming election.
According to the ACLU website, you can obtain a voter registration form at the state’s DMV, local post office or the county elections office. Felons should complete the form, then sign it and mail the document to the county elections office. You can also download the form online and sign and date the paperwork before sending it to the county elections office. Forms are available in both the English and Spanish languages.
If you so choose, you can also register to vote on the Secretary of State’s website. After you complete the form online, it will be returned to you via the mail for your signature so it can be mailed back. If you do use the online form, make sure you register at least a month ahead of the election date to permit extra time to mail the form back and forth. After registration, you can vote by mailing in your ballot or by visiting your local polling place.
Other Resources For Felons in California
Jobs For Felons: If you’re a felon looking for a job in California, we have all of the resources you need including job listings by city, companies that hire felons, and our own job board. Click Here to learn more.
Legal Representation: If you’re in need of an expungement attorney to try to get rid of your felony in California, or need a criminal lawyer or other type of lawyer, clicking here to visit our legal representation page.