Felony Conviction and Voting
You Can Vote After You Complete Your Felony Sentence
In Minnesota, you can vote once you finish your felony sentence, including probation and parole. Many refer to completing a sentence as being ‘off-paper.’ Once you are off-paper, your right to vote is automatically restored. This is true even if your felony conviction was in another state.
States have different laws about criminal conviction and voting rights—if you move to another state, be sure to check their laws before voting or registering.
Do Not Register or Vote Until You Complete Your Sentence
If you are still serving a felony sentence, you cannot vote or register to vote. Wait to register until you complete your sentence, even if you will be off-paper by Election Day. It is a felony to register if your rights have not been restored.
Do Not Register or Vote if You Are Unsure of Your Eligibility
If you have doubts about whether you have completed your sentence, do not register or vote. You may want to contact your parole or probation officer to check if you have completed your sentence.
It is not always obvious whether a particular felony charge resulted in a felony conviction (for example, if you received a stay of adjudication). If you are unsure about your eligibility to vote, you may want to seek legal advice from an attorney.
Register to Vote After You Complete Your Sentence
Your right to vote is automatically restored once you complete your sentence. However, you still need to register before you vote, even if you were previously registered before your conviction. Register as far in advance as possible. This will allow problems to be brought to your attention before Election Day. You can pre-register up to three weeks before Election Day, or you can register on Election Day itself.
What to Expect on Election Day
The county election office may not know your right to vote has been restored. On Election Day, there may be a note directing the election judge (poll worker) to challenge your eligibility to vote. If this happens, tell them that you have completed your sentence. The election judge might have you swear an oath of eligibility, and if you meet all eligibility requirements, you will be allowed to vote.