Felony is a serious crime in all states and can affect one’s rights. But then, “can felons vote in Michigan? Laws in the United States of America vary from state to state. In addition, states can change their laws at any point in time.
A felony conviction can impact one’s life negatively. Once convicted, one may suffer the consequences even after completing the sentence.
For instance, felons cannot own or carry a concealed weapon for a certain period. They also cannot enlist in the military or join a jury.
Furthermore, millions of Americans don’t partake in the country’s democratic process all because they are felons.
Here, the focus will be on Michigan. We’ll discuss all you need to know about felons’ voting rights in the state and more. Read on!
Can Felons Vote In Michigan?
Yes, felons can vote in the Great Lake State. However, individuals in prison for felony charges cannot vote. Voting rights are restored once you complete your sentence and you’re released from prison. Furthermore, you can vote in Michigan if you’re on parole or probation.
Below are states that don’t strip felons of their voting rights. In other words, felons retain their rights to vote whether in or out of prison. Check out the states below:
- Washington D.C.
A Handy Tip: Michigan’s voting population in 2022 was 7,528,995, but they were 35,281 people convicted of felony offenses. Thus, the disqualification rate was 0.47%. In other words, 35,281 felons weren’t eligible to vote in 2022. If there were elections, they wouldn’t have voted.
When Can Felons Vote In Michigan?
Felons can vote in Michigan under the following conditions.
- You can vote in Michigan if you were charged with a felony but haven’t been convicted.
- You can vote if you’re awaiting arraignment (appearing before a judge to hear the charges brought against you formally.
- You can vote if you have finished serving your term and newly released from jail or prison
- You can vote if you’re on parole or probation
- You can vote if you’re awaiting trial (this process can take weeks or years)
- You can vote if you’re in the process of appealing a conviction.
A Handy Tip: You can use the absentee ballot if you’re in jail and waiting for the trial to begin.
Michigan Felon Voting Law Explained
Certain conditions can make a felon ineligible to vote in Michigan. Here is a summary of the position of the law on this matter.
- The law excludes persons from voting due to their mental incompetence or commitment to a penal institution or jail.
- An individual in a court in Michigan, another state or a federal court who has been convicted legally and sentenced for a crime for which the punishment imposed includes confinement in prison or jail shall not vote, attempt, offer or be permitted to vote during an election while confined.
A Handy Tip: A felony is a crime with a minimum penalty of up to a year or more. Examples of felony crimes include assault with a weapon, a third offense for drunk driving, possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other controlled substances without a prescription, murder, firearm offense, fraud, and others.
What Are The Consequences of A Felony Conviction In Michigan?
A felony conviction is a serious crime in Michigan or any other state. A felony conviction will leave you with a permanent criminal record, denting your image. So, it’s not a good thing to have a felony conviction on your record.
You can vote as a felon once you finish serving your sentence. A felony won’t impact your voting rights but can impact other rights. For instance, you’ll lose your right to possess firearms for a certain period.
Your eligibility for federal assistance is gone once convicted of a felony. In other words, you can’t get loans or even grants.
Felons also lose their right to serve on a jury or enlist in the military. In addition, they cannot carry a concealed weapon, regardless of size or type.
A Handy Tip: Felons can open carry firearms, but it will take time for this to happen. According to the Michigan Penal Code (750.224F), any individual convicted of a felony cannot possess, use, carry, transport, ship, sell, or distribute a firearm for three to five years, depending on the felony charge.
The three or five years specified in the Michigan Penal Code start after the felon has paid the total fines imposed for the crime, completed the sentence and completed all the conditions for parole or probation for the crime committed.
Felony that results in five years of loss of privilege to possess or use firearms, including the following:
- Manufacturing, possession or distribution of drugs
- Illegal possession or distribution of firearms
- Felony that involves illegal use of explosive devices
- Arson or felony that involves breaking into an occupied building
- Felony resulted from using physical force on another individual or property and attempted force against the individual.
Do Felons Need To Re-register To Vote In Michigan After Completing Their Sentences?
No, felons don’t have to re-register to vote after serving their jail term. Upon the completion of the sentence, felons can vote in Michigan. In other words, the right to vote is restored once they’re out of jail.
You can register to vote if you haven’t done so before. Registration is open for citizens of the United States and Michigan residents. In addition, you must be 18 years old on the scheduled election date and not be incarcerated for misdemeanor or felony.
In summary, here’s what you need to register and vote in Michigan:
- You must be a U.S. citizen
- You must reside in the township or city you wish to register for a minimum of 30 days before the voting day.
- You mustn’t be under 18 years old.
How To Register To Vote In Michigan
The voting registration process is straightforward. And even though it’s not compulsory, voting is a right every citizen must exercise. Election Day is one of the most critical periods in the history of Michigan, as the constitution empowers electorates to choose their leader.
So, if you’re 18 or older and wish to register to start voting, here are the steps to take.
- Verify that you’re eligible to vote. You must be a resident of Michigan, 18 years or older, and not incarcerated for a felony crime.
- The next step is to fill out the application form.
- Submit your application form.
- The township or city clerk will process the form.
- You have now registered to vote. Vote wisely!
Voter registration has gotten easier as most clerks now run satellite officers around the state to help facilitate the registration process for new voters.
You need proof of identification for your voter’s registration. You can present your ID’s digital copy, but ensure it has your name and address. Below are the ID cards you can present during voter registration.
- Bank statement
- Current utility bill
- State ID
- Driver’s license
- Government check or paycheck
- Other relevant government documents
Can felons vote in Michigan? Yes, felons can vote in Michigan after completing their sentences. It doesn’t matter the crime or length of the sentence. Felons regain their voting rights once they get out of jail.
Millions of felons locked in prison lose their rights to vote in America. In Michigan, thousands of people don’t get to vote because of felony charges and the fact that they’re still serving jail terms. So, the law preventing felons who are incarcerated needs to change.
Three states don’t restrict felons’ voting rights. These include Vermont, Maine, and Washington, DC. In these states, felons can vote whether in or out of prison.