Can Felons Vote in North Carolina?

The right to vote is one of the most important rights in America. Voting is one of the best ways to express your opinion, contribute to our government, and hold elected officials accountable for their actions or inactions. Our votes affect our lives in many ways, on important local and national issues from housing and education to immigration and health care. The 2018 midterms have come and gone, so the 2020 Presidential election is up next.

Many people assume that felony convictions permanently remove the right to vote. That’s not true in most parts of the country, and it certainly is not true in North Carolina.

In the Tarheel State, felons are only ineligible to vote if they are under direct court supervision (e.g. behind bars, on probation, or on parole). However, attempting to register while voting rights are suspended is a Class I felony which is punishable by up to two years in prison. More importantly for Raleigh criminal defense lawyers, this offense could constitute a violation of probation or parole.

If you were convicted of a felony, once your sentence is fully complete, you must register to vote in the county where you currently reside. Before registering, we suggest that you ask your supervising offier for a Certificate of Forfeited Rights of Citizenship. This document is not required for registration, but it is helpful if there are any questions about your right to vote. This Certificate may also make it easier to find a job.

North Carolina and most other states do not allow online registration. However, people can go here to download and print an application. You must then submit it in person, or mail it, at least thirty days before the next upcoming election.

Whether you are facing a felony offense or you’re a felon looking for employment, the Raleigh criminal defense attorneys at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, Attorneys at Law, can assist you. We also handle matters like record expungement. Since we understand how important your right to vote is, we do our best to protect your rights and future. Call us now at (919) 887-8040, or fill out the form to the right, to schedule a free consultation.