Voter Eligibility for People Serving Felony Sentences

Once a person is convicted of a felony, they lose the right to vote in North Carolina until they have completed their sentence. This includes completing any aspect of their sentences in prison or jail, as well as any period of probation, post-release supervision, or parole associated with a felony sentence.  

Once their period of supervision is over, a person convicted of a felony automatically regains the right to vote. They must still register to vote, even if they were previously registered to vote prior to being convicted of a felony.  

Having financial debt associated with a felony sentence—for example, fines, fees, or restitution—does not necessarily make someone ineligible to register or vote. Someone can have their probation period extended due to failure to pay such financial debt, in which case they are still not eligible to vote. However, probation can and does end for many people with remaining debts. If a person’s period of felony supervision is over, they regain their voting rights, even if they have remaining debts associated with their sentence.  

As part of regular processes to maintain the accuracy of the voter registration rolls, the State Board and county boards of elections receive regular updates from the N.C. Department of Adult Correction and U.S. Department of Justice on North Carolinians who are not eligible to register or vote. Such names are removed from the voter rolls, upon notice and an opportunity for the voter to object. 

Note: When you are convicted of a misdemeanor in North Carolina, you do not lose your right to vote, even if you are incarcerated.

Voter Registration Deadlines

The regular voter registration deadline is 25 days before an election. Eligible would-be voters who become naturalized U.S. citizens or whose rights are restored after being released from prison or jail for a felony sentence ahead of Election Day, but after the regular voter registration deadline, may register and vote during early voting or on Election Day.

Visit Register in Person During Early Voting for details on how to register and vote during the early voting period. Or, see Vote in Person on Election Day to learn about casting your ballot on Election Day.