California Voting Rights Restoration

Misdemeanor convictions in California

Can prisoners vote in jail? Generally, yes.

You do not lose your right to vote if you are convicted of a misdemeanor in California. If you are incarcerated for a misdemeanor you should check voter registration status, register to vote if necessary, and request an absentee ballot from your county elections office.

You can vote while awaiting trial for any charge, even if incarcerated, as long as you have not lost your right to vote due to a prior conviction.

Felony conviction in California

Can felons vote in California?

You lose your right to vote if you are convicted of a felony, with the exception of serving a felony jail sentence. You can't vote while incarcerated in prison (for a felony sentence or parole violation). Your right to vote is automatically restored once you complete your sentence or are parole, on post-release community supervision, mandatory supervision, federal supervision, or probation. 

You can vote while you are awaiting trial or if your felony conviction was a juvenile sentence made under Section 203 of the Welfare and Institutions code.

You can vote if you are currently incarcerated serving a felony jail sentence, and were not sentenced to prison time.

Next steps for restoring voting rights in California

If your prison sentence is completed, even if you are on parole, you may register to vote and cast a ballot.

In all states, it's a felony to vote if your voting rights are currently revoked. If you are uncertain about your status from the information provided on this page, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE for more information.



For help with:

  • Registering to vote
  • Requesting an absentee ballot
  • Requesting a mail-in ballot


For help with finding your Election Official.