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I Have a Criminal History

People with a Criminal History 
California law allows people with a criminal history to register and vote. In addition to meeting the general qualifications to register, there are specific steps to take for those with a criminal history.

If you or someone you know is in jail in Santa Clara County, they may be eligible to vote. We suggest you inquire with the Deputy in your unit about how to participate.

You CAN register and vote if you are:
  • In county jail: 
    • Serving a misdemeanor sentence (a misdemeanor never affects your right to vote)
    • Serving a felony jail sentence 
    • Serving time as a condition of probation for a misdemeanor or felony conviction 
    • Awaiting trial 
  • On probation
  • On mandatory supervision
  • On post-release community supervision
  • On federal supervised release
  • A person with a juvenile wardship adjudication
Released from Custody Before You Receive Your Ballot? 
If you are released from custody before your Vote by Mail ballot arrives in the mail, you can still vote. Just go to any Vote Center in Santa Clara County, or to the Registrar of Voters Office, and request a new ballot. You may also be able to request a replacement ballot be sent to you in the mail, if time permits. 

You CANNOT register or vote if you are: 
  • Imprisoned in:
    • State prison
    • Federal prison
  • Currently serving a state prison felony sentence in a county jail or other correctional facility
  • Currently in county jail awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison for a felony conviction
  • Currently in county jail for a parole violation
  • Currently on parole with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 
Restoring Your Rights 
Once you have completed parole, your right to vote is restored. However, your prior registration record is not automatically activated. You must reregister to vote by submitting a new Voter Registration form.

Visit the California Secretary of State’s website page Who’s Eligible to Vote in California, found under the link “How Do I learn More About.” There you may read about voting rights and use their Restore Your Vote​ tool to determine your eligibility.  
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Last updated: 9/14/2020 8:26 AM