Voting Rights for Californians
with Criminal Convictions
or Detained in Jail or Prison
You can register to vote if you are:
- A citizen of the United States of America;
- A resident of California;
- At least 18 years of age or older on or before election day;
- Not in prison, on parole, serving a state prison sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code section 1170, or on post release community supervision; and
- Not found mentally incompetent by a court of law.
Criminal Justice Realignment Act
In 2011, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed the Criminal Justice Realignment Act (CJRA). Under Penal Code section 1170(h), low-level felons are sentenced to county jail and/or supervision by the county probation department instead of state prison. CJRA has caused some confusion about voting rights among people who have criminal convictions. Below states who is eligible and who is not eligible to register to vote in California.
- In state prison.
- In county jail serving a state prison sentence.
- In county jail serving a felony sentence under Penal Code section 1170(h).
- On parole, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision.
- In county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence. A misdemeanor never affects your right to vote.
- In county jail because jail time is a condition of probation.
- On probation.
- Done with parole, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision. Your right to vote is automatically restored when parole or supervision is done.
For more information on how to vote and details on eligibility, please refer to the below link to access the Secretary of State's Voting Right's Guide for Incarcerated Persons and for those with criminal convictions.