Are Felons Allowed to Vote in Texas?
The right to vote is something Texas residents and other U.S. citizens take pride in because they have the power to make their voices heard and participate in our democracy. With the midterms coming up and the presidential election only two years away, millions of Americans have registered to exercise this right.
However, can felons vote in Texas? While it is generally assumed that felons are prohibited from voting, that is not always the case.
Felons cannot register to vote if they obtain a final conviction Texas. However, a felon who has successfully completed his/her sentence—which includes their period of confinement, term of probation, term of parole, or has obtained a pardon—can register to vote.
If a felon’s conviction is on appeal or has obtained a deferred adjudication, he/she can still vote. Additionally, if an individual is merely prosecuted or indicted for a felony, he/she can still vote.
Keep in mind, ex-felons must re-register to vote, instead of simply showing up at the polls. They can request an official, postage-paid voting application, or download an informal application, from the Secretary of State’s website. It is possible to register to vote when renewing or applying for a Texas driver’s license.
Once the registration is complete, they can mail it to their designated County Voter Registrar or turn it in by hand to the same office. The office should receive the application 30 days before the scheduled election to obtain eligibility to vote. A voter registration certificate will then be mailed within 30 days.
To determine if a felon is eligible to vote, the Texas Department of Public Safety sends information which lists individuals who have a final conviction to the Secretary of State’s office each week. The information is then compared to the data of all registered voters. When matches occur, the results are sent to the specific counties of those individuals. The counties will then send these individuals a written notice of investigation, which they must respond within 30 days or be removed from registration.
Felons who are not eligible to vote but do so anyway could face criminal penalties.