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Department of Justice
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Friday, May 20, 2022

Justice Department Releases Guide to State Voting Rules That Apply After Criminal Convictions

The Justice Department today announced the release of a guide to the state voting rules that apply after criminal convictions. This document is designed to help citizens who meet the age and residency requirements to understand how the state-by-state rules about voting after a criminal conviction could apply to them. Who keeps the right to vote and who can regain that right — and how — differs from state to state, and it depends on state law. This guide walks readers through a series of questions to help them understand how each state’s laws work. And it gives information about how to reach officials in a particular state if someone wants to register to vote or if they have additional questions.

“The right to vote is the foundation of American democracy and it is critical for returning citizens to have reliable information concerning what voting rules apply after a criminal conviction,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The right to vote affirms returning citizens’ membership and belonging in the broader community. And it helps to ensure that the communities to which they belong have a meaningful opportunity to elect representatives of their choosing.”

The department originally gathered the information here in response to Section 9 of Executive Order 14019 on Promoting Access to Voting, which was issued by President Biden on March 7, 2021. Among other things, the executive order directed the Attorney General, as part of the reentry process for citizens in federal custody, to “provide educational materials related to voter registration.”

This information will be available through justice.gov/voting

Complaints about discriminatory voting practices may be reported to the Civil Rights Division through the internet reporting portal at https://civilrights.justice.gov or by telephone at 1-800-253-3931.

Voting and Elections
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
Updated November 21, 2022