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I Was Convicted Of A Felony. Can I Vote In North Carolina?

| Oct 17, 2012 | Criminal Defense |

For those who are awaiting trial for a North Carolina felony offense or for those convicted of only a misdemeanor criminal offense, you still maintain your right to vote. If you are convicted of a felony however, you immediately lose that right along with certain other ‘citizenship rights.’

The County Board of Elections will terminate your right to vote upon conviction of a felony offense. Until you have finished your sentence, attempting to register to vote is punishable as a separate felony offense.

But, once you have served your sentence – including any prison time, parole and probation, as applicable – you are eligible to register to vote and to actually vote again. North Carolina General Statutes §13-1 provides that the restoration of your rights are automatic upon being pardoned or completing the terms of your punishment.

You should simply be able to register to vote in your county of residence – you will need to do this again after you have completed your sentence even if you had registered to vote before being convicted of a felony offense. But, in order to avoid any problems with this process, you may want to pursue a Certificate of Restoration of Forfeited Rights of Citizenship. You can request this form from whomever authorizes your unconditional release or completion of all terms of your punishment.

The original certificate should be filed with the court as part of the record of the underlying felony criminal case.

Source: North Carolina Department of Corrections, “Know Your Voting Rights

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