Every U.S. citizen has the right to vote in every federal, state, and local election if they are 18 years of age or older. Since every single vote counts, ordinary people have the power to elect officials that promise the changes they desire and represent their political beliefs. With the midterms several days away and the presidential election in two years, millions of Americans are ready to voice their opinions.
But what about felons? Most people believe ex-convicts lose their right to vote as soon as they are sentenced; however, that is not always the case.
In Nevada, once an individual completes his/her sentence for a non-violent felony, his/her voting rights are restored. On the other hand, all violent felons and second-time offenders are not allowed to vote unless their civil rights are restored by the court.
Once their civil rights have been restored, felons obtain an official honorable discharge or a court order restoring their electoral privilege. The document or order is required by the county clerk for voter registration because it is used as evidence.
When completing the application for registration, individuals must be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old on or prior to the next election, and a Nevada resident for at least 10 days in their voter precinct and 30 days in their county prior to the next election date.
Eligible felons may register online, print out the form, and have it signed. The form is then sent through the mail or hand-delivered to the county clerk’s office, the registrar of voters, or even the any DMV location.
It is important to note that on June 4, 2017, Governor Brian Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 181 into law, thus restoring rights to thousands of Nevada residents who were permanently disenfranchised due to past convictions. Starting next year, those that received a “=dishonorable discharge stemming from parole or probation will no longer be permanently disenfranchised. Moreover, individuals with certain category B convictions will automatically have their civil rights restored once two years have passed since their sentence was complete.