You can Still Vote in GA with a Criminal Record
Even if you have been charged and convicted of a crime in Georgia, you may still have the right to vote in upcoming elections.
Driving through any neighborhood in Atlanta or the surrounding areas, you are bound to see signs promoting political candidates who are running in upcoming local, state, and national elections. News reports detail their positions on current issues and provide poll results showing who is ahead. If you are facing criminal charges or have a past conviction on your record, you may be wondering what your voting rights are. While each state is different, in Georgia you may still have the right to vote regardless of any current charges or your past criminal record.
Does Having a Criminal Record Impact My Right to Vote?
According to the Georgia Justice Project (GJP), roughly 4.3 million residents of our state fall into this category. This translates into roughly 40% of all adults. Some of these cases represent minor crimes while others indicate convictions on more serious charges. In both situations, there are many people who have successfully completed their sentence along with any other court requirements and are now living lives as law-abiding citizens in their communities. However, they may still have questions regarding their voting rights.
Voting is a fundamental right in our society; however, your ability to cast a ballot will depend on the specific circumstances in your case. You do have the right to vote if:
- You are serving probation on misdemeanor charges;
- You are currently in jail for a misdemeanor offense;
- You were sentenced under the First Offender Act or Conditional Discharge;
- If you plead Nolo Contendere, which means you accept a conviction without pleading guilty;
- You were found guilty of a felony but completed your sentence;
- You have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime but your case is awaiting trial.
You do not have the right to vote if you are currently incarcerated for a felony offense in Georgia or if you have failed to complete the sentencing for a previous case. This includes paying any outstanding fines, court costs, or completing community service requirements.
Other Requirements for Voting in Georgia
Even if your past conviction or criminal record does not keep you from casting your vote, there are still other requirements you must meet. The Georgia Secretary of State lists the guidelines for being able to vote in our state:
- You must be a legal citizen of the United States;
- You must be a legal resident of the county you are registering to vote in;
- You must be at least 17 and a half years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote in an election;
- You must not have been found mentally incompetent by a judge.
Our Gwinnett County Criminal Defense Attorneys are Here to Help
At Zimmerman & Associates, we know the serious impacts criminal charges can have on every area of your life. To protect yourself against a conviction, contact our Norcross criminal defense attorneys and request a consultation today.