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Convicted Felons and Misdemeanants

Even if you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or are in pretrial detention you may be able to vote.

Can I register and vote?

You can register and vote if you:

  • Are a pretrial detainee, confined in a penal institution awaiting trial on charges of a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Were ever convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • Got released or will get released by the date of the next election from a correctional facility or halfway house. This must be upon completion of the term of incarceration for conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Are on probation or released on parole. This includes parolees who are living in a halfway house.
  • Are under house arrest (home confinement). If this is you, you can vote no matter your conviction status or the status of the conditions of confinement.
Who cannot register and vote?

You are not eligible to register and vote if you:

  • Are currently confined in a penal institution for conviction of a felony and will not get released from confinement until after the next election. This is even if you are also incarcerated for one or more misdemeanor offenses.
  • Are in a halfway house or other alternative correctional facility on pre-release status for conviction of a felony and who will not get released until after the date of the next election.
  • Got convicted of violating any provision of the Pennsylvania Election Code within the last four years.
Where do I register to vote?

If you are in a penal institution, your residence for voter registration is:

  • The last address where you registered to vote before confinement, or
  • Your last known address before confinement, or
  • A new residence established while confined. For example, if your spouse moves to a new address where you intend to live when you get released.

When registering to vote, you cannot use a penal institution or a halfway house as your residence address where you live. However, you may use these locations as an address to get mail.

How will I register to vote?

You can register to vote online or by mail.

Learn how to register to vote.

How will I vote?

If confined in a penal institution, you will vote by absentee ballot.

If you are not confined, you will vote at your polling place. You may vote by absentee ballot if you meet the requirements to request an absentee ballot.

What is the law?

On December 26, 2000, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that the law in Pennsylvania that governs whether people convicted of a felony could vote was not constitutional.

This law used to say that people convicted of a felony could not register to vote for 5 years after their release from prison. This is no longer true.

If you are a person with a felony conviction, you may be able to register to vote. If filling out an old version of the Voter Registration Mail Application (VRMA) form, strike through the felony conviction line at Section 9(2). Then sign your name.