Welcome to our new weekly series, Friday Q&A. Each week our criminal defense attorneys will respond to a question selected from the many received by direct and online submission. Have a question you want answered or topic you want to hear more about? Submit your suggestions to us by tweeting @TLOBJ or sending a message to our Facebook Page.
Question: I was convicted of a felony drug possession in 2011. Will I be able to vote in the general election this November?
Answer: Yes. According to the Ohio Secretary of State, a person who has been convicted of a felony and is not currently incarcerated may vote if he or she is otherwise eligible to vote in Ohio – even if that person has been released on post-release control (parole) or in a “house arrest” or “half-way house” situation. Note that a person who is released from prison is required to register again after release.
Who Is an Eligible Voter?
A person convicted of a misdemeanor of any degree who otherwise meets the qualifications of “eligible voter” may claim his or her rights as an eligible voter in Ohio – even if the person is in jail. Those in that situation will still want to double-check their registration status before the registration deadline (especially if their residential address has changed.)
The deadline for voter registration for the November 8th, 2016 general election is October 11th, 2016. You can find more information about how to register at the Ohio Secretary of State website and the Department of Motor Vehicles Website.