Submitted by June Boyd
If someone has been convicted of a crime, can that person still vote in Ohio?
Most often the answer is yes. With regard to voting rights, Ohio law can be confusing for corrections officials, and individuals who have been convicted of crimes. This general guide explains basic voting rights that apply to eligible Ohio voters who have been convicted of a crime.
Frequently Asked Questions
If someone has been convicted of a misdemeanor, can that person still vote?
Yes. A person convicted of a misdemeanor of any degree at any time who meets the qualifications may claim his or her rights as an eligible voter in Ohio. This is true even if the person is incarcerated.
If someone charged with a crime is in jail while awaiting trial, can that person still vote?
Yes. Anyone being held in a pre-trial situation who wishes to exercise his or her rights as an eligible Ohio voter must be given that opportunity (assuming he or she is not currently incarcerated while convicted of another crime that is a felony).
If someone has been convicted of a felony but is not currently incarcerated, can that person still vote?
Yes. A person who has been convicted of a felony but not currently incarcerated may vote if he or she is otherwise eligible to vote in Ohio. If a person has served time in Jail or prison for a felony conviction and has been released, even if on post-release control, parole or in a “house arrest” or “half-way house” situation, he or she is eligible to vote. Please note, a person released from prison is required to register again at his or her next residence after release.
If someone has been convicted of a felony in another state and is not currently incarcerated for that conviction, can that person vote in Ohio?
Yes. Like all eligible Ohio voters, however, an individual in this circumstance must live in Ohio at least 30 days before voting in an election and must register at least 30 days before the election when he or she plans to vote.
What circumstances would restrict a person’s right to vote in Ohio who has been convicted of a crime?
There are only two circumstances where a person can temporarily or permanently lose his or her right to vote in Ohio for being convicted of a crime. First, if a person is convicted of a felony and currently incarcerated for that conviction, that person is not eligible to vote during his or her imprisonment. This applies to periods of incarceration for felony probation violations, violations of post release control, parole, or being detained for extradition on a felony conviction from any state. Second, a person who has been twice convicted of felony violations of Ohio’s election laws is permanently barred from voting in Ohio.