The right to vote is a cornerstone of American democracy, but in America, many people are denied that right simply because they have a felony conviction on their record. So will a felony conviction affect your right to vote in California? It depends, but if you have any questions about felony convictions and your right to vote, you should definitely talk to a criminal attorney.
Felony Convictions and Your Right to Vote in California
Some states, like Maine allow felons to vote even when they are incarcerated. In the state of California though, when it comes to felony convictions and your right to vote, criminals sentenced to time in jail or on probation can vote, but those in state prison, serving a state prison term in a local jail or on parole cannot vote. Once the sentence has been served completely though, even those felons automatically have all of their voting rights restored and they do not need to do anything to register and vote.
Moving to Another State
That being said, if you are convicted of a felony in California, serve your sentence, and you live in another state or later move to another state, your right to vote could be affected. In some states, like Florida, a felon must obtain a pardon or perform some other action in order to vote again. Other states like Alabama, prohibit felons who have committed specific crimes from ever voting, regardless of whether they have obtained a pardon.
Reinstating Your Right to Vote
When it comes to felony convictions and your right to vote in states where your rights have to be reinstated after a conviction, in some states, moving from a state like California (where your right to vote has already been reinstated after you serve your sentence) means you are already qualified to vote. In other states though, you will still need to do the same activity felons in the state need to go through in order to be able to vote again. Because the issue is so complex, you might want to speak with your defense attorney before moving so you can get a better idea of how your right to vote may be affected by your felony conviction.
Consequences of Ignoring Felon Voter Bans
Ignoring restrictions on a state’s voter rights laws and choosing to vote anyway is considered a form of voter fraud, a felony that could leave you behind bars for years. That is why it is so important to understand the laws regarding felony convictions and your right to vote in any state where you may move. This is also why you should always ask your Vista felony defense attorney any questions you may have before you unknowingly break the law.
If you aren’t sure how your felony conviction may affect your right to vote, or if you were charged with voter fraud, be sure to speak with Peter M. Liss as soon as possible. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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