Misdemeanor convictions in Tennessee
Can prisoners vote in jail? Generally, yes.
You do not lose the right to vote if you are convicted of a misdemeanor in Tennessee. If you are incarcerated for a misdemeanor you should check voter registration status, register to vote if necessary, and request an absentee ballot from office administrators at your complex.
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 Tennessee
Can felons vote in Tennessee? It's complicated.
Felony convictions after May 18, 1981
You lose your right to vote if you are convicted of a felony after May 18, 1981, even if you are convicted in a court outside of Tennessee. You can't vote while incarcerated, while on probation, or while on parole.
A pardon or restoration of full rights of citizenship is required for all restorations. You are eligible to have your rights restored upon completion of your sentence and any period of supervision, however, you must receive a pardon or have your full rights of citizenship restored before submitting the certificate of restoration. Under Tennessee law, full rights of citizenship can be restored by petition to the circuit court.
Your right to vote is permanently revoked if you are convicted of certain felonies, including: voter fraud, treason, any degree of murder or rape, felonious sexual offenses against minors, bribery and other public official misconduct.
Felony convictions between Jan. 15, 1973 and May 17, 1981
You do not lose the right to vote if you were convicted of a felony between Jan. 15, 1973 and May 17, 1981.
Felony convictions before Jan. 15, 1973
You do not lose the right to vote if you were convicted of a felony before Jan. 15, 1973, unless you were convicted of one of 21 specific crimes (listed below) and a judge rendered you "infamous".
If you were convicted of one of the 21 specific crimes and a judge rendered you "infamous", your rights are restored if one of the following is true:
- If your conviction was reversed on appeal or expunged.
- If you either received a full pardon or had your voting rights restored.
The 21 crimes are as follows: Abusing a female child, Arson and felonious burning, Bigamy, Bribery, Burglary, Felonious breaking into a business house, outhouse other than a dwelling house, Felonious breaking and entering a dwelling house, Larceny, Horse stealing, Robbery, Stealing bills of exchange or other valuable papers, Receiving stolen property, Counterfeiting, Forgery, Destroying a will, Incest, Rape, Sodomy, Buggery, Perjury, Subornation of perjury.
Next steps for restoring voting rights in Tennessee
Regaining the right to vote after a felony conviction is a two-step process. First, an individual must receive a pardon or have their full rights of citizenship restored. Second, the individual must meet requirements related to paying restitution and court costs, if any, and be current on any child support obligations, if any.
For more information on applying to the Board of Probation and Parole to have your voting rights restored, call 1-877-850-4959
- American Samoa
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Virgin Islands
- West Virginia
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.
HELPFUL U.S. VOTE FOUNDATION RESOURCES
For help with:
- Registering to vote
- Requesting an absentee ballot
- Requesting a mail-in ballot
For help with finding your Election Official.