Can Felons Vote in Arkansas?

Convicted felons in Arkansas generally cannot vote until they request the state to restore their voting rights or a court expunges their records.

A U.S. citizen in Arkansas who is 18 or older can vote, with some exceptions. Convicted felons cannot vote in elections unless the state restores their voting rights.

The right to vote in an election is a fundamental civil right and civic duty of all U.S. citizens, even those convicted of a crime. Those who lose the right to vote must also know how to restore it.

I Was Convicted of a Crime. Can I Still Vote?

It depends. You can still cast a ballot on election day after a misdemeanor conviction. Even in jail, you may register to vote by absentee ballot.

Following a felony conviction, felons generally cannot vote. They can request the state restore their voting rights. They must do so after completion of their sentence and paying all fines related to the felony. Or, they may show the state proof that the court expunged their record.

How Can I Get My Voting Rights Restored?

Under Arkansas law, you can get your right to vote restored by showing the state proof of the following:

  • You satisfied the terms of your sentence
  • The state discharged you from probation or parole
  • You paid all probation or parole fees
  • You paid all fines to your local county clerk

The convicted person must get proof of the above requirements from the appropriate state or local agency. They must submit that proof to the Voter Registration Department and the court clerk. The convicted person must file it with the court clerk at the courthouse in the county where the person lives. They must also complete an Arkansas Voter Registration Application and give it to the same clerk.

For step-by-step information on how a convicted felon can register to vote, see the Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 51, Section 11. For information about your specific county's requirements, follow this link.

Can I Get an Expungement To Restore My Voting Rights?

An expungement of your record seals a conviction. In other words, it treats an offense as if it never happened. Convicted felons may seek expungement to get the right to vote restored.

To qualify for expungement, the convicted felon must meet these requirements:

  • They are a first-time offender
  • They are a non-violent offender
  • They completed all parole or probation requirements
  • They paid all court costs, fees, restitution, and other fines

If the convicted felon meets these requirements, they may get a "Petition to Seal" form from their county clerk. They must complete the petition and file it with the court records department in their county.

Once the court expunges a convicted felon's record, they may submit proof of the expungement to the Voter Registration Department. This allows the court to grant a restoration of voting rights.

Who Oversees How Arkansas Voting Laws Get Implemented?

The Arkansas Secretary of State determines voting eligibility rights in Arkansas. Act 633 of 2017 requires voters to verify their voter registration. They can provide a driver's license, U.S. passport, or government-issued photo ID.

Talk To a Civil Rights Attorney

A felony conviction does not necessarily end your voice as a U.S. citizen. While disenfranchisement may temporarily stop you from voting, you may have the chance to regain these rights.

If you need legal help to understand how to regain your right to vote, consult an Arkansas civil rights attorney.

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