Can a Felon Vote in District of Columbia?

The District of Columbia, or more commonly known as Washington and the capital of the United States, was named after President George Washington in 1791. It was built from the donated lands of adjacent states, Maryland and Virginia.

Currently, there are 2,999 prisoners in the Department of Corrections and Central Detention facilities in the District of Columbia. With a state population of 681,170, their inmate population only stands at 0.44%.

Despite their low incarceration rate, their inmate population can still make a significant impact in the outcome of an election. For most of them, it is their biggest chance to turn their family’s lives around towards a better future.

Can Felon Vote in District of Columbia?

The District of Columbia allows ex-felons, who have completed their term of incarceration, to vote. Also, under this state’s felon voting laws, felon under probation are still allowed to vote.

Along with 10 other states, the District of Columbia opted not to punish felons beyond the necessary. In this way, it promotes justice that prioritizes citizen’s rights over state matters.

The state’s courage to empower the citizen’s inalienable rights gains them more trust from the people. Similarly, the state benefits from such felon voting laws because it brings political balance across all social classifications.

Several states impose felon voting laws that require the fulfillment of monetary obligations. The District of Columbia, however, does not infringe a felon’s voting right because of his incapacity to pay his monetary dues to the state.

How Can Felons Restore Voting Rights in District of Columbia?

Upon release from prison, the state restores an ex-felon’s right to vote. However, he must re-register as a voter through the following steps:

  • The ex-felon must choose their political affiliation before re-registering as a voter. They can choose from Republic, Democrat, or the D.C Statehood Green Party
  • Afterwards, they can re-register through mail  or through the website of the District of Columbia Board of Elections (DCBOE)
  • If ex-felons prefer to re-register through mail, he must include his driver’s license number or social security number and mail it to the official address of the DCBOE at 441 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA

Sources

https://www.dcboee.org/faq/voter_reg.asp

https://doc.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/doc/publication/attachments/DC%20Department%20of%20Corrections%20Facts%20and%20Figures%20October%202016_0.pdf

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