States with the most felony disenfranchised voters

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October 1, 2020
Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

States with the most felony disenfranchised voters

Almost 6 million Americans are unable to vote due to disenfranchisement laws surrounding prior felony convictions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). No states have a unilateral ban on voting by former felons, but just two states allow currently incarcerated individuals to vote. At the center of the felony voting rights controversy is Florida, where voting rights were restored in 2018 for up to 1.4 million felons who had completed their sentences. But with the presidential election a month away, many of those indviduals remain disenfranchised due to a court order requiring all legal fees to be paid prior to voting rights being restored.

Stacker used data from The Sentencing Project to compile a ranking of states based on how many disenfranchised voters each state had during the 2016 election due to felony convictions. States are ranked according to the percentage of the voting-age population that is disenfranchised, with ties broken by the number of disenfranchised voters in the state.

Felony disenfranchisement is a term describing laws that restrict voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes. Many states have laws that don’t allow convicted felons to vote, and some go as far as not letting felons vote even after they complete their sentences.

Maine and Vermont are tied for #49, as they did not have any disenfranchised voters. For the purposes of this article, voting laws relate to U.S. citizens within each state.

Laws designed to prevent individuals from voting were prevalent throughout the South during the Jim Crow era, widely targeting Black communities with fines, literacy tests, and intimidation tactics. Of more than 6 million felony disenfranchised today because of felonies, almost 40% are Black, though the Black population in the U.S. is a little over 13%.

Keep reading to learn more about the states with the most disenfranchised voters due to felony convictions.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#49. Maine (tie)

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 0 (0% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 0
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,072,948

Maine and Vermont are the only two states to permit probationers, parolees, and prison inmates to vote in elections. Despite this, few prisoners exercise this right: Less access to information and low literacy rates have stunted involvement by such individuals in the electoral process.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#49. Vermont (tie)

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 0 (0% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 0
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 506,119

The decision granting voting rights for all Vermont residents, including those who are or have been incarcerated, was signed into law in 1799. Those currently imprisoned are only permitted to vote by absentee ballot for the address at which they most recently lived prior to incarceration.

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#48. Massachusetts

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 11,176 (0.2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 10,254
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 921
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 5,407,335

While incarcerated, the voting rights of individuals In Massachusetts and several other states are temporarily suspended. Those voting rights are restored upon release from prison. Inmates in the state were able to vote until a 2000 ballot question passed rendering voting from prison illegal. Measures that would reverse that order have thus far been defeated.

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#47. New Hampshire

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 3,031 (0.3% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 2,856
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 175
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,066,610

New Hampshire joins Massachusetts, more than a dozen other states, and Washington D.C. in disallowing those presently incarcerated from voting, but restoring those rights following release. A 2019 law in the state sought to keep formerly incarcerated individuals better aware of their voting rights.

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Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#46. North Dakota

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 2,178 (0.4% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 2,042
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 136
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 583,001

North Dakotans automatically lose the right to vote in elections upon a felony conviction being delivered. They regain the right to vote in elections as soon as they finish their prison terms.

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#45. Utah

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 7,669 (0.4% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 6,925
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 744
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,083,423

Any individual with a felony is allowed to vote in Utah upon completion of a prison sentence or while paroled or on probation. Former felons in Utah are also permitted to run for office.

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#44. Rhode Island

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 3,355 (0.4% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 3,355
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 845,254

In 2016, Rhode Island passed a constitutional amendment that did away with disenfranchising the state’s citizens who were on parole or probation. Today, those with felonies are allowed to vote following their prison terms.

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#43. Maryland

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 21,465 (0.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 20,378
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 1,087
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 4,658,175

While those convicted of felonies get their voting rights reinstated following prison terms, anyone who has been convicted of buying or selling votes cannot have their voting rights reinstated. The current rules were put into place in 2016, when the Maryland General Assembly overrode a veto by Gov. Larry Hogan that reinstated voting rights only following an entire sentence including parole or probation.

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#42. Oregon

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 14,748 (0.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 14,228
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 519
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 3,166,121

Pre-trial detainees, those completing sentences for misdemeanors, or those on parole or probation are all allowed to vote in Oregon. Those incarcerated for felonies have their voting rights revoked; upon completion of a prison sentence, individuals must re-register to have their voting rights restored.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#41. Illinois

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 49,625 (0.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 47,537
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 2,089
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 9,901,322

As soon as individuals in Illinois are convicted of a felony, their voting rights are revoked temporarily, but restored upon the completion of a prison term for that felony. An amendment to the state’s Election Code that became effective in January makes it possible for eligible voters in county jail to cast mail-in ballots and requires polling stations be erected in county jails.

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#40. Montana

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 4,146 (0.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 3,816
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 330
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 806,529

Anyone convicted of a felony in Montana is unable to vote while serving a prison sentence. Those wishing to vote following such a sentence are required to re-register.

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#39. Pennsylvania

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 52,974 (0.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 49,269
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 3,705
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 10,112,229

Pennsylvania requires absentee ballots for those wishing to vote who are serving time in jail, being held in jail while awaiting trial, in jail or prison for misdemeanors, and those under house arrest. Anyone convicted of violating state election laws in the past four years or those currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction are not permitted to vote. Those who were previously registered to vote are not required to re-register following the completion of a felony conviction prison term.

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#38. Hawaii

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 6,364 (0.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 6,364
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,120,770

Upon sentencing for a felony, a Hawaiian may not vote in an election until that term is served. Following the felony prison term, voting rights are automatically reinstated.

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#37. Michigan

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 44,221 (0.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 42,661
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 1,560
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 7,715,272

Felons in Michigan regain their voting rights immediately following a prison term. But to cast a ballot, voter registration applications must be submitted in-person or by mail. These individuals can also re-register while applying for public assistance or at a voter registration drive.

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#36. Indiana

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 29,658 (0.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 28,028
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 1,630
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 5,040,224

Convicted felons currently serving prison terms are the only adults in Indiana who are ineligible to vote. The state is one of just five that will not allow the coronavirus pandemic as a cited reason for requesting an absentee ballot in the 2020 election.

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#35. Ohio

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 52,837 (0.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 51,102
--- Parole: 0
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 1,736
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 8,984,946

Ohio mirrors many other states in its barring of felons currently serving prison terms from voting, but reinstating those rights immediately upon release from prison. Individuals are able to vote while on parole or probation.

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#34. Connecticut

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 17,345 (0.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 14,926
--- Parole: 2,419
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,826,827

Connecticut law dictates that the only adult citizens ineligible from voting are convicted felons currently serving prison terms. But the state joins nine others—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, and South Dakota—that require all legal fees, fines, and restitution be paid prior to regaining voting rights.

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#33. New York

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 97,581 (0.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 50,513
--- Parole: 44,590
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 2,477
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 15,584,974

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order in April 2018 that automatically restored voting rights to most New Yorkers upon completion of prison sentences, even if they were on parole. All convicted felons released from prison would therefore be eligible for a review by the governor’s office that could result in a partial executive pardon to restore all voting rights.

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#32. Colorado

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 30,946 (0.7% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 21,207
--- Parole: 8,673
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 1,066
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 4,199,509

Colorado disallows its residents to vote while serving felony prison terms. Those on parole or awaiting trial for felonies are permitted to vote.

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#31. California

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 222,557 (0.7% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 136,302
--- Parole: 86,254
--- Felony probation: 0
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 30,023,902

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown signed California Assembly Bill AB2466 in 2016, allowing people in county jail who had been convicted of a felony the right to vote. Those in prison for a felony or those on parole for such a crime are ineligible to vote until their term is complete.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#30. Kansas

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 17,594 (0.8% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 9,466
--- Parole: 4,023
--- Felony probation: 3,426
--- Jail: 679
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,192,084

Kansas requires convicted felons to pay back all financial obligations—from court fees to restitution—prior to regaining voting rights. For this reason, poverty is a chief barrier to convicted felons who have served their prison terms from exercising their right to vote in the state.

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#29. Washington

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 48,552 (0.9% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 18,395
--- Parole: 3,811
--- Felony probation: 25,164
--- Jail: 1,182
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 5,558,509

Washington also maintains laws that bar people from voting until paying off all legal fees associated with their felony convictions. A major driver of such debt? Court fees.

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Jerry Pennington // Shutterstock

#28. West Virginia

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 14,727 (1% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 7,042
--- Parole: 3,187
--- Felony probation: 4,109
--- Jail: 389
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,464,532

West Virginia, along with 15 other states, has outstanding instances in which the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons is delayed due to unpaid fees. These cases are not unilateral and apply only to certain individuals. Outside of this unpaid fee structure, felons who otherwise have completed their prison terms have their voting rights restored.

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#27. North Carolina

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 91,179 (1.2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 37,446
--- Parole: 10,977
--- Felony probation: 40,867
--- Jail: 1,888
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 7,752,234

In 2020, a nationwide “Unlock Our Vote” campaign seeking to restore voting rights to all individuals who have been convicted of crimes has made headway in North Carolina. Also, this year, a preliminary injunction granted North Carolinians who are on parole or probation for not paying fines and fees the right to vote.

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#26. Nebraska

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 17,564 (1.2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 6,377
--- Parole: 782
--- Felony probation: 2,952
--- Jail: 384
--- Post-sentence: 7,069
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,425,853

Nebraska law does not allow for the automatic, permanent reinstatement of voting rights following felony prison terms. Here, formerly incarcerated individuals must also complete any outstanding parole or probation periods before being allowed to vote.

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#25. South Carolina

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 47,238 (1.2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 20,141
--- Parole: 4,621
--- Felony probation: 21,464
--- Jail: 1,011
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 3,804,558

Voting rights for ex-felons in South Carolina are restored following prison sentences, parole, and probation periods. Unpaid legal fees can delay this process in certain instances.

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#24. New Jersey

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 94,315 (1.4% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 19,964
--- Parole: 14,831
--- Felony probation: 58,123
--- Jail: 1,396
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 6,959,192

New Jersey has joined New York since 2016 in loosening laws related to the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons. The right of a person with a felony conviction to vote is restored immediately upon completion of a prison term.

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#23. Wisconsin

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 65,606 (1.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 22,851
--- Parole: 19,537
--- Felony probation: 22,101
--- Jail: 1,118
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 4,476,711

Wisconsin allows ex-felons to vote following all prescribed terms: parole, probation, and prison. The law disproportionately affects Black people in the state, as a 2017 report by Carlos Berdejo published in the Boston College Law Review found white individuals in the state were 25% more likely than Black people committing the same crime to have charges dropped or reduced.

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#22. Minnesota

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 63,340 (1.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 11,369
--- Parole: 8,148
--- Felony probation: 43,215
--- Jail: 608
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 4,205,207

Individuals convicted of felonies in Minnesota must complete parole, probation, and prison terms before having voting rights restored. In the 2019 suit Schroeder et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State, filed by the ACLU in 2019, it was alleged that withholding voting rights of felons on probation is illegal, as per the Minnesota Constitution.

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#21. New Mexico

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 24,286 (1.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 7,205
--- Parole: 2,838
--- Felony probation: 13,352
--- Jail: 891
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,588,201

Various groups throughout New Mexico have ramped up efforts in the past two years to fight felony disenfranchisement. Rep. Gail Chasey introduced legislation in December 2018 that would allow felons to vote even while in prison; the law was amended to restore voting rights only after all terms—including prison, parole, and probation—are complete.

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Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#20. South Dakota

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 10,392 (1.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 3,464
--- Parole: 2,643
--- Felony probation: 4,114
--- Jail: 170
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 647,145

South Dakota is one of a dozen states that will bar a person from voting indefinitely over unpaid legal fees. Ex-felons in the state must further complete their full prison, parole, and probation terms before having their voting rights restored.

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#19. Idaho

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 23,106 (1.9% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 7,873
--- Parole: 5,057
--- Felony probation: 9,863
--- Jail: 314
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 1,222,093

Ex-felons in Idaho must serve all prison, parole, and probation terms before being eligible to vote again. While almost half of all states have reformed their felony disenfranchisement laws since 1997, Idaho has not.

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#18. Missouri

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 89,665 (1.9% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 32,768
--- Parole: 16,808
--- Felony probation: 38,870
--- Jail: 1,219
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 4,692,196

Missourians who have been convicted of felonies are eligible to have their voting rights restored following the conclusion of their parole, probation, and prison terms. Those who were convicted of an election-related offense are not eligible to vote.

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#17. Oklahoma

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 58,302 (2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 27,857
--- Parole: 2,572
--- Felony probation: 26,475
--- Jail: 1,398
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,950,017

Felons in Oklahoma may have their voting rights reinstated upon the completion of prison time, parole, and probation. The policy means thousands of Oklahomans who have been released from prison must wait several years before being eligible to vote again.

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#16. Delaware

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 15,716 (2.1% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 6,858
--- Parole: 716
--- Felony probation: 4,074
--- Jail: 0
--- Post-sentence: 4,067
- 2016 voting-age population: 741,548

Those in Delaware who are convicted of murder, bribery, or sexual offenses—termed “disqualifying felonies”—are permanently barred from voting. Other felons may vote again following their sentences, an update enacted in 2013 over a prior law requiring a five-year waiting period.

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#15. Iowa

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 52,012 (2.2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 9,127
--- Parole: 6,133
--- Felony probation: 12,365
--- Jail: 410
--- Post-sentence: 23,976
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,395,103

Anyone convicted of a felony in Iowa permanently loses the right to vote as per the state constitution. In August 2020, however, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Executive Order 7 that reinstated voting rights immediately to all convicted felons, except those convicted of murder or related crimes, following their sentences.

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#14. Texas

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 495,928 (2.5% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 161,658
--- Parole: 111,632
--- Felony probation: 216,033
--- Jail: 6,605
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 20,257,343

Texans convicted of felonies may have voting rights automatically restored once all sentences have been fulfilled. The state had instituted a poll tax until 1966.

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#13. Alaska

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 14,439 (2.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 5,497
--- Parole: 2,035
--- Felony probation: 6,900
--- Jail: 7
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 552,166

Once Alaskans who have been convicted of a felony are released from their sentences, they may register to vote. To do so, an individual must also submit proof of an unconditional discharge to the Division of Elections.

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Eduardo Medrano // Shutterstock

#12. Arkansas

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 66,705 (2.9% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 19,224
--- Parole: 21,811
--- Felony probation: 24,695
--- Jail: 975
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,272,904

Arkansas is among a handful of states that allows for permanent disenfranchisement of ex-felons if they are unable or unwilling to pay back all legal fees, fines, and restitution. Of the thousands of voters disenfranchised in 2016 for alleged felony convictions, it was found that many voters had, in fact, not been convicted of a felony. Those who have served time, probation, and parole for a felony are required to submit proof of discharge from the criminal justice system and payment of associated fees. Documents—which can vary wildly depending on when and where a person was in the corrections system, must be approved by local county clerks.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#11. Louisiana

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 108,035 (3% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 35,614
--- Parole: 31,450
--- Felony probation: 37,761
--- Jail: 3,211
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 3,555,911

Louisiana has joined Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, and others in the past 11 years in expanding voting rights for those formerly and currently incarcerated in the prison system. One such bill in 2019 restored voting rights for around 36,000 people who had been convicted of felonies. Still, Jim Crow-era rules for ex-felons persist today and have been taken up by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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#10. Georgia

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 248,751 (3.2% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 50,900
--- Parole: 23,545
--- Felony probation: 170,194
--- Jail: 4,112
--- Post-sentence: 0
- 2016 voting-age population: 7,710,688

A 2019 law was passed in Georgia that allowed those in prison, but not convicted of a felony, to receive absentee ballots from election officials, and to deliver those ballots via jail employees or family members. For felons, the law requires Georgians to serve all their associated terms, including prison, parole, and probation.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#9. Nevada

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 89,267 (4% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 11,560
--- Parole: 6,828
--- Felony probation: 8,097
--- Jail: 701
--- Post-sentence: 62,080
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,221,681

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill in 2019 that restored voting rights for around 77,000 ex-felons who had served their prison or probation terms. The number of individuals represents a larger number of voters than swayed 2018 elections for Sisolak and Sen. Jacky Rosen—and Hillary Clinton and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in 2016. Changes in Nevada and elsewhere around the country could add up to around 2 million convicted felons who would be able to vote this November.

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#8. Arizona

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 221,170 (4.3% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 44,509
--- Parole: 7,241
--- Felony probation: 51,362
--- Jail: 1,341
--- Post-sentence: 116,717
- 2016 voting-age population: 5,205,215

Arizona’s felony disenfranchisement laws are widely considered among the most regressive in the country. Any Arizonans who are currently imprisoned, paroled, or on probation are not allowed to vote.

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#7. Wyoming

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 23,847 (5.3% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 2,536
--- Parole: 607
--- Felony probation: 3,148
--- Jail: 141
--- Post-sentence: 17,414
- 2016 voting-age population: 447,212

Wyoming lawmakers in 2017 restored the right to vote for any persons convicted of a nonviolent felony who had finished their sentences. All people falling into this camp are provided with a certificate of restoration and are not required to fill out an application to have rights reinstated.

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Kevin Ruck // Shutterstock

#6. Alabama

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 286,266 (7.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 30,585
--- Parole: 6,580
--- Felony probation: 15,626
--- Jail: 1,578
--- Post-sentence: 231,896
- 2016 voting-age population: 3,755,483

Alabama joins Mississippi in instituting lifelong voting bans on individuals for certain crimes. Some people who are imprisoned in Alabama are permitted to vote while serving their sentences.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#5. Virginia

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 508,680 (7.8% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 38,694
--- Parole: 1,604
--- Felony probation: 56,908
--- Jail: 2,905
--- Post-sentence: 408,570
- 2016 voting-age population: 6,512,571

Virginia purged nearly 39,000 voters in 2013 who were said to have moved out of state or been convicted of a felony. That data was discovered to have an error rate of as much as 17%.

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#4. Tennessee

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 421,227 (8.3% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 29,271
--- Parole: 13,186
--- Felony probation: 52,654
--- Jail: 2,763
--- Post-sentence: 323,354
- 2016 voting-age population: 5,102,688

Those serving sentences for felony convictions are not allowed to vote in the state of Tennessee. If a conviction has been expunged, voting rights are fully restored. Voting rights may also be restored in case of certain crimes committed and the year of those crimes. Any person convicted of a felony after May 18, 1981, may fill out a restoration of voting rights form following the completion of a sentence.

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#3. Kentucky

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 312,046 (9.1% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 22,968
--- Parole: 16,729
--- Felony probation: 27,323
--- Jail: 2,039
--- Post-sentence: 242,987
- 2016 voting-age population: 3,413,425

Before the 2016 elections, Kentucky had a law in place that permanently disenfranchised individuals convicted of felonies. Gov. Andy Beshear in December 2019 restored voting rights to Kentuckians who had been convicted of nonviolent felonies and finished their sentences.

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Katherine Welles // Shutterstock

#2. Mississippi

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 218,181 (9.6% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 13,752
--- Parole: 8,051
--- Felony probation: 28,463
--- Jail: 1,422
--- Post-sentence: 166,494
- 2016 voting-age population: 2,265,485

Felony disenfranchisement in Mississippi has racist roots, designed to keep those guilty of “Black crimes” from voting. Roughly 200,000 Mississippians today have been permanently barred from voting.

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PIxabay

#1. Florida

- Total disenfranchised voters in 2016: 1,686,318 (10.4% of voting-age population)
--- Prison: 102,555
--- Parole: 4,208
--- Felony probation: 86,886
--- Jail: 4,822
--- Post-sentence: 1,487,847
- 2016 voting-age population: 16,166,143

Almost 1.5 million Floridians with felony convictions were re-enfranchised in 2018. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September upheld the position of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, reversing the lower court order. Now, felons must pay all legal fees prior to voting—a fact that inspired former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to propose paying off millions of dollars in fines before the 2020 election. Because there is no central database collecting what fees are owed, it is difficult for felons to know if they owe fees.

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