We are asked the question all the time, if I’m convicted of a crime can I still vote. The short answer is yes.

Michigan has a statute that addresses this issue and it can be found at MCL 168.758b “Voting by persons confined in jail or prison prohibited.” The statute itself reads as follows:

“A person who, in a court of this or another state or in a federal court, has been legally convicted and sentenced for a crime for which the penalty imposed is confinement in jail or prison shall not vote, offer to vote, attempt to vote, or be permitted to vote at an election while confined.”

On first review the statute seems prohibitive to voting rights, and it is for people wanting to vote while incarcerated after being convicted of a crime. However, after you are done with your custodial sentence you may register and vote with a criminal record. The right for a person with a criminal conviction to vote is emphasized on the Michigan Secretary of State website and can be found at:

https://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-5647_12539_29836-202492–,00.html

Also, if a person is incarcerated awaiting trial they can still vote, although it is cumbersome. They will need to get an absentee ballot, fill it out and send it in. There are obvious obstacles to this, getting the absentee ballot, mailing…. As I said, cumbersome, but it can be done.

You have the right to VOTE, exercise that right!

Mike.

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