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
Voting Outreach Flyer
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 vote. It’s your right. Your vote is your voice. 

Can I vote if I am on probation?

Maybe. If you are on probation for a misdemeanor you are eligible to vote. You are also eligible if you are serving a first offender sentence for a felony. But if you were convicted of a felony or had your felony first offender revoked and are still serving a sentence, you are not eligible to vote until you complete your sentence.

Can I vote if I was sentenced under the First Offender Act or Conditional Discharge?

Maybe. If you were sentenced under first offender or conditional discharge and your status has not been revoked, you are eligible to vote. These sentences are not convictions unless the judge revokes the status. If your felony first offender or conditional discharge case was revoked and you are still serving the sentence, you are not eligible to vote until the sentence is complete.

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

Yes. If you pled “Nolo,” you are still eligible to vote, even while serving your sentence.  Nolo pleas are rare for felonies.

Can I vote if I’m in jail?

Maybe. You are eligible to vote as long as you are not serving a sentence for a felony conviction. If you are in jail because of a pending case or you are serving a sentence for a misdemeanor conviction you are eligible to vote. You are not eligible if you were convicted of a felony and are awaiting transfer to a state prison. To register you must mail the registration application to your local voter registration office.

Can I vote if I am in prison?

No. Unless sentenced under First Offender Act or Conditional Discharge.

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

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

How do I know if my sentence is complete?

Once your felony sentence is completed, you are eligible to register to vote. If you are not sure if your sentence is complete you should request a Certificate of Sentence Completion from the Department of Community Supervision (DCS). A Certificate of Sentence Completion demonstrates that people with felony convictions are no longer under correctional control and have completed their sentence.  To obtain a certificate, contact your original DCS probation office or request from a local probation office.

What if I still owe fines and fees?

If you still owe fines that were imposed as a separate part of your felony sentence – in addition to incarceration or probation – your sentence may not be complete.

How do I know if my fines were a separate part of my felony sentence?

You can see what your sentence was by looking at the sentencing sheet (the disposition) in your case, which you can obtain from the clerk of court for the court that resolved your case.

Do I need a pardon or other documentation to register to vote?

No. You do not need a Pardon and are not required to provide any documentation about your criminal
history to register. However, some people have been wrongfully purged from registration rolls due to their criminal history or told they could not register. Obtaining a Certificate of Sentence Completion from DCS can show that you have completed your sentence for a felony conviction and are eligible to vote.

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 ID. To register you must also be a United States citizen, a Georgia resident, and have not been declared mentally incompetent.

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 when you know you are not eligible.

What if I have a felony conviction from another state?

As long as you are not currently serving a felony sentence, you can register to vote in Georgia. It doesn’t matter what the voting laws are in the other state—Georgia law allows anyone to vote who is not currently under felony sentence.

How do I register to vote in Georgia?

The easiest way is online:  https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov
You can also go to your local county board of registrar or elections office for a mail-in registration form.

How can I share this information with others?

You can find a pdf copy of our FAQ sheet at the top of this page, as well as more information about Certificates of Sentence Completion.

Having difficulty registering to vote?

If you have any questions or need help understanding if your sentence is complete (if you are off paper), contact Georgia Justice Project at 404-827-0027 ext. 248 or Ann@GJP.org. If you have any difficulty registering or casting your ballot, contact the Voter Protection Hotline at 888-730-5816.