Voting

CAN I VOTE? 

Frequently Asked Questions on Voter Eligibility by People with Criminal Records in Georgia

Georgia Justice Project does a lot of educational presentations around the state, and we find there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about who can and cannot vote in Georgia when they have a criminal record.  Each state is different, so read below so you know what the law is in Georgia.

PDF’s of the handouts can be found here:
Can I Vote? Frequently Asked Questions
Show You are Off Paper
Georgia DCS’s Certificate of Sentence Completion

OFF PAPER?  Then you can vote! No cost or fee. No application. No special process. Just Register to voteIt’s your Right.  Your Vote is your Voice. 

Can I Vote?

Frequently Asked Questions on Voter Eligibility by People with Criminal Records in Georgia

Can I vote in Georgia if I have been arrested?

Yes. Anyone who is not currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction and is registered to vote is eligible to vote in Georgia.

Can I vote in Georgia if I was sentenced under the First Offender Act?

Maybe. If you were treated as a first offender and your sentence has not been revoked, you are eligible to vote in Georgia. A felony first offender case, even though the defendant pleads guilty, is not considered a conviction unless the judge revokes the first offender status. A first offender case can be revoked for a violation of the terms of the sentence. If your felony first offender case was revoked and you are still serving the sentence, you are not eligible to vote until the sentence is complete.

Can I vote in Georgia if I am in jail?

Maybe. Anyone is eligible to vote as long as they are not serving a sentence for a felony conviction. If you are in jail because of a pending case or because you are serving a sentence for a misdemeanor conviction you are eligible to vote. You are not eligible, however, if you have been convicted of a felony and are awaiting transfer to a state prison. In order to register you must mail the registration application to your local registration office.

Can I vote in Georgia if I was convicted of a misdemeanor offense?

Yes. Only people who were convicted of a felony offense are ineligible to vote until the completion of their sentence.

Can I vote in Georgia if I pled Nolo contendere to a felony offense?

Yes. If you have pled “Nolo,” which means “I do not wish to contend,” you are still eligible to vote, even while serving your sentence.     

Can I vote in Georgia if I am in prison?

No. Unless sentenced under the First Offender Act, everyone serving a sentence in a Georgia prison has been convicted of a felony. The right to vote is automatically restored once the sentence is complete.

Can I vote in Georgia if I am on probation?

Maybe. If you are on probation for a misdemeanor conviction you are eligible to vote. You are also eligible if you are serving a first offender sentence for a felony offense. However, if you have been convicted of a felony or had your felony first offender revoked and you are still serving a sentence, you are not eligible to vote until you have fully completed your sentence (including fines and/or fees).

Are there other requirements to be able to vote in Georgia?

At the time of the election, you must be at least 18 years old and have photo identification. You must also be a United States citizen, a Georgia resident, and have not been declared mentally incompetent.

How do I register to vote in Georgia?

You can go to your local county board of registrars’ office or election office, public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, schools and other government offices for a mail-in registration form. You can also apply online here.

Do I have to have a pardon or other criminal history documentation to be able to register to vote?

No. You are not required to provide any documentation about your criminal history in order to register. However, some people have been wrongfully purged from registration rolls due to their criminal history. Obtaining a Certificate of Sentence Completion from the Department of Community Supervision can help to establish that you have completed your sentence for a felony conviction and are eligible to vote.

I am still serving a sentence for a felony conviction, should I just try to register to vote anyway?

No. It is against the law to try to register to vote in Georgia when you know that you are not eligible.

 If you are eligible, click here to register to vote