In most cases, you can register and vote in New York after you’ve been incarcerated for a felony conviction. As a rule, you can vote while in jail for a misdemeanor, while on probation, or once you have completed parole. You do not need any special documentation to register to vote.
Voting with a Criminal Record
1. In New York, you CAN vote with a criminal record if you:
- were convicted of a misdemeanor; or
- are on probation; or
- were not sentenced to prison or had your prison sentence suspended; or
- served your maximum prison sentence; or were discharged from parole; or
- were pardoned; or
- have had your voting rights restored by the governor after being released to parole supervision for a felony conviction.
2. In New York, you CANNOT vote with a criminal record if you:
- are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction; or
- are currently under parole supervision for a felony conviction and your voting have not been rights restored by the Governor, or your voting rights have been revoked by the Governor due to re-incarceration for a parole violation or new felony.
3. Voters who are in jail for a misdemeanor or are awaiting trial:
Misdemeanors do not impact your right to vote. You may still register and vote if you are in jail for a misdemeanor or are awaiting trial, however you will need to vote by absentee ballot.
4. Voters who are on parole:
The governor’s office reviews the information of each person released to community supervision. In most cases, the governor’s office issues a partial executive pardon that restores each approved person’s ability to register and vote.
If you receive a voting restoration pardon, you should receive paper certification from your parole officer, along with a voter registration form. You must re-register in order to vote. If you are serving parole, you can check your voting rights status with the state’s Parolee Lookup website. Look for the Voting Restoration Pardon indicator. If your parole status shows as ‘Active,’ you are eligible for a restoration pardon. If your parole has been discharged, or your maximum sentence has expired, your right to vote has already been restored.
For more information, visit our Voting Rights of New Yorkers with Felony Convictions page.
5. You will need to re-register to vote after your felony conviction:
If you were previously registered to vote and were sentenced to prison, you will need to re-register to vote once you have served your maximum sentence, are discharged from parole, or have received a voting restoration parsdon.
6. If you have a federal felony conviction or a felony conviction in another state:
You may still register and vote in New York if you have a federal felony conviction, or a felony conviction in another state – however, the governor’s ability to restore your right to vote upon release to or during parole supervision may not apply.
7. How to register and vote in the 2020 Election:
The last day to register to vote is October 9, 2020 and the last day to postmark your ballot or vote in-person is November 3, 2020. For key information and instruction about voting in-person, voting early, and voting by mail in the 2020 Election, visit our Know Your Rights: Voting During COVID-19 page.