Know Your Voting Rights


There are many myths about who has lost the right to vote. In some counties, even the election and prison officials are confused about the voting rights of felons and may even be giving out bad information. Too many felons think that they can never vote again, or that they must wait five years. This was true in the past, but Pennsylvania eliminated that restriction in 2000. 

Here are the facts (Note: This information applies to Pennsylvania residents only.):

Under Pennsylvania law, felons who have been released from prison, or who will be freed by the time of the election, are eligible to vote. This is true even if they are on parole or probation. Only felons who are incarcerated are not allowed to vote. Voting rights are automatically restored upon release from prison.

Who is eligible to register and vote?

Incarcerated individuals convicted of misdemeanors

Individuals who are under house arrest

Individuals who are on probation or released on parole

Individuals being held while awaiting trial

Who is not eligible to register and vote? 


Individuals who are incarcerated (in a penal institution or halfway house) on felony charges and who won’t be released before the election

Individuals who have been convicted of violating the Pennsylvania election laws within the past four years.

For more information on voting in Pennsylvania, log on to the Pennsylvania Department of State’s voting page, and browse the “Quick Links” section.


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