A federal or state felony conviction results in the loss of voting rights until the terms of the felony sentence is complete. A sentence is not considered complete until probation or parole is finished. Individuals who lose their voting rights due to a felony conviction may re-register to vote upon completion of their sentence. The voter registration form includes an affidavit above the signature line attesting an individual’s right to vote has been restored. Signing a false affidavit is a felony and could result in the loss of voting rights, if convicted.
Disclaimer: This information is provided to assist ex-offender Kansas residents in registering to vote. The ability to register to vote may depend on an individual’s particular circumstances. If you have questions regarding the restoration of your voting rights, we encourage you to seek the advice of legal counsel.
Can I vote if I have been convicted of a crime?
Misdemeanor: YES: A conviction for a misdemeanor does not affect your ability to vote.
Felony: Individuals convicted of a felony cannot vote until they have completed the terms of their sentence - while in prison, on parole, or probation.
- Article 2, Section 5 of the Kansas Constitution states that “No person convicted of a felony under the laws of any state or of the United States, unless pardoned or restored to his civil rights, shall be qualified to vote.”
- Kansas Statute 21-6613(a) provides that “A person who has been convicted in any state or federal court of a felony shall, by reason of such conviction, be ineligible to hold any public office under the laws of the state of Kansas, or to register as a voter or to vote in any election held under the laws of the state of Kansas or to serve as a juror in any civil or criminal case.”
If an individual is convicted of a felony in federal or state court, the court will inform the Secretary of State, who will inform the appropriate county election officer to remove the individual from the list of registered voters.
Voting rights are restored upon completion of the terms of the felony sentence, including all supervised release. Registration is not automatic - the ex-offender must act to register to vote.
- Kansas Statute 21-6613(b) provides that “ineligibilities imposed by this section shall attach upon conviction and shall continue until such person has completed the terms of the authorized sentence.”
- Kansas Statute 22-3722 provides that upon satisfaction of conditional release or parole (whichever is sooner), a state offender receives from the parole board a “certificate of discharge,” which restores civil rights.
Can I register to vote if I have completed my authorized sentence but am still required to register as an offender?
YES, you can register to vote.
- Offenders required to register under Kansas’ Offender Registration Act include sex offenders, violent offenders, and drug offenders (Kansas Statute 22-4902).
- The Kansas Supreme Court has held that offender registration is not punishment and, therefore, does NOT affect the right to vote (State v Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan 192 (2016)).
How do I register to vote after completing my authorized sentence?
To register, you must be a United States Citizen; over the age of 18; and a resident of Kansas. Voter registration temporarily closes on the 21st day before any election.
You do not need to show proof of final discharge to register. Above the signature line on all voter registration forms is an affidavit confirming your eligibility to be a qualified elector, that includes the phrase “that if convicted of a felony, I have had my civil rights restored.” Do not sign this affidavit on the registration form if you are not sure if your civil rights have been restored. Signing a false affidavit is a crime.
What if I am not sure if I have had my civil rights restored?
Most ex-offenders are issued documents upon discharge informing them their right to vote has been restored. If you did not receive documentation, contact the state or federal court where your criminal case was filed and verify that your civil rights were restored. You may also contact your defense attorney for assistance.
What if my civil rights have been restored but my voter registration was rejected by the county election officer?
County election officers have data on those who should not be allowed to register; sometimes this information may not be current through no fault of the county election officer. In that case, the county election officer has limited ability to verify a completed sentence.
If you believe you are entitled to register to vote, contact the county election office and provide the registration rejection notice and documents showing your civil rights have been restored.
- An individual on parole at the end of their post-release supervision period should receive a certificate of discharge from the Prisoner Review Board.
- Individuals discharged from imprisonment or probation usually receive documentation that their civil rights have been restored.
- If you were released and did not receive documentation, contact the court where you were sentenced and ask for documentation that you have completed the terms of your sentence. Your defense attorney may also be of assistance.
If I still owe fines, restitution, or court costs, can I register to vote?
Unpaid criminal fines, restitution, or court costs may make you ineligible to vote. Verify with the court if any amounts owed prevent the restoration of your civil rights.
Generally, if you have been officially discharged, and any amount owed has been sent to civil collections, you are eligible to vote.