According to Brennan Centre for Justice at the New York University School of Law, Texans released from the prison system, who have completely finished their sentences, including parole and probation, are once again entitled to vote.
Felon Voting Law in Texas
A person who is convicted of a felony cannot register to vote until he or she has successfully completed his or her sentence, including any period of confinement, parole, term of probation, supervision, or has gained pardon.
Every week the Secretary of State’s office in Texas receives data from the Texas DPS (Department of Safety) regarding felony convictions. The information from the DPS is matched against the listed state files for registered voters. If a match is found, it is sent to the proper county for action. In order to investigate a registration, electoral workers must send a voter a written notice of the assessment and warn the individual that their registration may be cancelled if they do not respond to the notice within 30 days.
Individuals can still vote if a conviction on appeal is in process as this type of action is not considered a conviction. Neither is “deferred adjudication” regarded as a final felony conviction, per Article 42.12, Section 5 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Prosecution, indictment and similar procedures which lead up to, but have not yet resulted in a felony conviction, are not considered finalized and therefore the individual can still vote. The civil rights of electoral candidacy or serving on a jury are not automatically restored in Texas as are voting rights. You can find out more about Texas law by clicking on this site.
How a Felon in Texas Can Restore Their Voting Rights
In Texas, eligibility to vote is granted to Texans who are US citizens, residents of the county where registration is made, and at least 18 years old on the scheduled election date. Residents who have been convicted of a felony must have been –
· Fully discharged from their sentence, including any term of confinement, supervision, or parole, or completed probation; or
· Fully pardoned or released from the disability to vote.
They should also be considered mentally competent.
In order to register, the process is quick and simple. Official applications for registration are postage-paid. In most of the counties in the state the County Tax Assessor is also given the responsibility of being the County Voter Registrar. In some of the Texas counties, the County Election Administrator or County Clerk assumes registration duties.
You can obtain an application to register to vote from the following venues –
· County voter’s registrar’s office
· Secretary of State’s office
· Public library
· Post office
· High school
The Secretary of State’s website offers a contact area where visitors can request an official, postage-paid application to vote. An informal application (not postage paid) can be downloaded as well. You can also register to vote when you renew or apply for a driver’s license in the state.
Read the instructions on the voter’s registration form and then complete it and mail it to the designated County Voter Registrar or deliver it by hand to the same office. The application should be received at the registrar’s office or postmarked 30 days prior to a scheduled election to reinstate eligibility. Anyone who votes in Texas must supply a personal ID number issued by the Department of Public Safety, a state driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number. If you do not have any of these numbers, you much check a box on the application to this effect.
If you don’t have the aforementioned ID,s you must submit other forms of proper ID when voting. Seven forms of ID are acceptable –
· A Texas driver’s license that has been issued by the Texas Department of Safety (DPS)
· Texas Election ID Certificate
· Texas Personal ID, issued by the DPS
· Texas Concealed Handgun License
· US military ID with photo
· US citizenship certificate, including photo
· US passport
· Voter registration certificate
Once an applicant applies, a proof of registration in the form of a voter registration certificate will be mailed to him or her within 30 days. A new certificate is issued every two years if a voter does not move from their address. You can obtain further information by following this link.
Other Resources For Felons in Texas
Jobs For Felons: If you’re a felon looking for a job in Texas, 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.