Can felons vote in California

Can Felons Vote in California

Below you will find information on voting rights for felons in California. Where possible we have tried to simplify the answer as much as possible for you and give you the most direct answer of whether felons can vote in California.

You will also find links to California state operated websites for additional information, and links to information on restoring your right to vote in California.


Who Can Register To Vote in California

In order to vote in California you must:

  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Be a resident of California;
  • Be at least 18 years of age or older on or before the next Election Day;
  • Can not currently be imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony; and
  • Can not currently be found to be mentally incompetent by a court of law. 

Can Felons Vote in California?

If you have a criminal conviction, either a felony or misdemeanor, you can vote if:

  • You are in county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence. A misdemeanor never affects your right to vote.
  • You are in county jail because jail time is a condition of probation.
  • You are on probation.
  • You are on mandatory supervision.
  • You are on post-release community supervision.
  • You are Done with parole.  Your right to vote is automatically restored when you complete your parole. You just need to fill out a voter registration application either online at RegisterToVote.ca.gov or using a paper voter registration card.

Felons Can Not Vote in California If:

  • You are currently imprisoned:
    • In state prison.
    • In county jail serving a state prison sentence.
  • You are currently on parole.

Criminal Justice Realignment Act

The Criminal Justice Realignment Act (Realignment) has created confusion for some regarding their voting rights. If you have questions regarding your rights you should contact your parole or county probation office for further information. 

How to Register to Vote in California

You may request a voter registration card from the Secretary of State or your county elections office.  You may also apply to register to vote on the Secretary of State’s website RegisterToVote.ca.gov. Your voter registration application must be received or postmarked at least fifteen (15) days before Election Day to be eligible to vote in that election.  Voter registration cards and voting materials are available in English, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.   If you are in jail, you are entitled to receive a voter registration card if you are eligible to vote.  

Can I Vote By Mail In California?

Yes, if you are already registered to vote at your current home address, you may request a vote-by-mail ballot application by contacting your county elections office. You must return completed vote-by-mail ballot applications to your county elections office at least seven (7) days prior to Election Day.

If you are not registered to vote at your current home address, you may register or re-register to vote and request a vote-by-mail ballot on the Secretary of State’s website RegisterToVote.ca.gov.  

What Happens If I Am Released from Custody And Requested to Vote By Mail?

If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot but are released from custody before you receive your ballot, you can still vote.  Just go to the polling place for your home address or any polling place in the county where you are registered and vote a provisional ballot.

More Information On Felon Voting Rights in California

California Criminal Conviction Voting Rights: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/new-voters/who-can-vote-california/voting-rights-californians/

California Voter Registration: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/

California Pardons: http://gov.ca.gov/s_pardonsandcommutations.php