U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
The right to vote is an important civil right in a democracy as well as a civic responsibility, and yet many persons who have been convicted of a crime do not know whether they are eligible to vote. For both federal and state elections, the right to vote is controlled by the law of the state in which you live. Some states restrict the right to vote for persons who have been convicted of a crime. This pamphlet is intended to help you determine whether you are eligible to vote in the state in which you live, and if so, what steps you must take to be permitted to vote.
What law governs whether my felony conviction limits my right to vote?
The impact of a criminal conviction on the right to vote varies widely from state to state. Whether you can vote after being convicted of a crime is determined by the state in which you live, not the state in which you were convicted.
Can I vote while I'm incarcerated in Alabama?
If you are a resident of Alabama, you cannot vote in Alabama elections while you are incarcerated as a result of a conviction for a felony of moral turpitude.
If you are a resident of another state who is temporarily incarcerated in Alabama, you may be able to vote by absentee ballot in your home state. You need to consult the law of your home state regarding both criminal convictions and absentee ballots to see if this is a possibility.
I have been released from incarceration. How do I restore my right to vote?
The right to vote may be regained only through a pardon. The pardon power (except for cases of treason, impeachment, or in which the death penalty was imposed) is vested in the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
What if my conviction was for a federal crime?
If you were convicted of a felony of moral turpitude in federal court, you must have your voting rights restored before you will be permitted to vote in Alabama. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles can restore your Alabama voting rights if you were convicted of a federal crime even if you have not received a federal pardon.
What if I was convicted in another state?
If you were convicted of a felony of moral turpitude in the court of another state, you must have your voting rights restored before you will be permitted to vote in Alabama. To have your rights restored, you must apply for a pardon in the state in which you were convicted. A state pardon does not restore the right to vote unless specifically expressed in the pardon. If you receive a pardon in the state where you were convicted, but it does not expressly provide that your voting rights have been restored, you may then apply to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles to restore your right to vote in Alabama.
When am I eligible to apply for a pardon?
In Alabama, you are eligible for a pardon with restoration of voting rights (1) after completion of a state or federal parole period; (2) after completion of a state or federal probation period; (3) after completion of a state jail sentence; (4) after completion of a full penitentiary sentence or federal sentence; (5) after three years of successful parole in Alabama if your parole has not ended and if you have no other felonies.
How can I apply for a pardon?
You can request a pardon application packet from the Board of Pardons and Paroles:
P.O. Box 302405
Montgomery, AL 36130-2405
What happens if I move to another state?
If you move to another state, your right to vote will be controlled by the laws of that state.
What are Alabama's other voter registration requirements?
To vote in Alabama, you must be a U.S. citizen, be a resident of Alabama, be at least 18 years of age, and not have been declared "mentally incompetent" by a court.
When do I need to register to vote?
You can register at any time, except during the10 days before an election.
Where do I go to register?
Registration is available at many places in Alabama, including
|County Board of Registrar's Office
||Driver's licensing office
||County and select municipal public libraries
||Department of Human Resources
||WIC Program, Department of Public Health
||Department of Rehabilitation Services|
You can obtain more registration information on the following website:
If you believe you are eligible to vote and encounter difficulty registering, one of the following officials may be able to help you:
If these officials are unable to help you, or to report a problem, contact:
This pamphlet is provided for informational purposes only, as an aid to further inquiry. The laws in many states are revised frequently, and may have changed since this pamphlet was issued. It is your responsibility to determine whether you are lawfully eligible to vote, and criminal penalties can result from voting when ineligible or making false statements on a registration form.