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Can I Vote in Ohio if I Have Been Convicted of a Felony?

In most instances, the answer in Ohio is yes. The common misconception is that if someone has been convicted of a felony then they are not eligible to vote. Ohio, however, is one of a handful of states that allow convicted felons to vote. The only time a convicted felon is not eligible to vote is if they are currently incarcerated as part of their sentence. Upon release, though, the defendant can re-register to vote. One exception, however, is for defendants convicted of a felony related to election fraud-in those instances the defendant is permanently ineligible to vote.

Additionally, a defendant who is incarcerated while his or her felony case is pending is still eligible to vote. So, for example, a defendant who is in jail on a felony drug charge because they cannot post bond while their case is pending can still vote. Further, convicted felons on probation or parole can still vote.

Clients often believe that they cannot vote unless their felony conviction has been sealed. Although sealing one's record affords an individual many benefits, it is not necessary in order to restore one's right to vote in Ohio. Another issue to be aware of is that a felony conviction in Ohio may impact one's right to vote if they are no longer residing in Ohio. Each state has specific guidelines regarding voter eligibility, so it would be wise to check with the local board of elections if there are any questions. 

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