Can a Felon Vote in Idaho?

Idaho is a state located in the northwestern region of the United States of America. It has a population of 1.7 million and is the 39th most populous state in the country. Also known as the Gem State, its capital is Boise. What is notable about this state is that it shares a bit of its border to Canada with the province of British Columbia.

out of the 1.7 million population of the state, there are 8, 451 inmates as of 2015. In 2015 alone, there were 2,217 admissions into the correctional system. Idaho has 10 prisons and four (4) community reentry centers scattered throughout the state. The Idaho Department of Corrections is headed by a director and managed by 1,960 staff. The Department has three divisions namely Prisons Division, Probation and Parole Division and Management Services Division.

The theory of felon disenfranchisement traces back its roots in the Social Contract Theory. This theory by Jean-Jacques Rousseau provides that “an individual must fulfill their duties and obligations to the Sovereign in order to reap the benefit of their citizenship.” However, felon-voting supporters assert that this theory is no longer applicable to present times. Felon disenfranchisement is counter-productive to the goals of the correctional system to discipline the offender and prepare to reintegrate him to the society.

Can felons vote in Idaho?

According to Idaho laws, stated in Article VI, Section 3, a person convicted of a criminal offense and currently incarcerated shall have their full suffrage revoked.

Idaho laws provide that a felon convicted of any offenses punishable in Idaho shall have full suffrage upon final discharge. However, those convicted of the crime of treason and other certain crimes will not have the right to bear arms restored.

Final discharge in this context would mean the completion of the sentence of imprisonment, parole or probation depending on the case.

As with other states like Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, Indiana and South Dakota, those convicted of misdemeanor in Idaho are also not allowed to vote while incarcerated.

How can felons restore their voting rights in Idaho?

As aforementioned in the provision above, former felons in Idaho shall enjoy the restoration of their full rights of citizenship after serving their sentence unless they fall into the exception.

Here are the following steps to follow to restore the right of suffrage:

  1. After the completion of the sentence imprisonment, parole or probation as the case may be, the former offender must re-register.
  2. He must check if he meets the requirements before filling out the voter registration card. As provided by the Office of the Secretary of State of Idaho, the following are the requirements to be an eligible voter:
      • Must be 18 years old and above on the day of Election;
      • Must be an American Citizen
      • Must have lived in Idaho and in the county he is situated for at least 30 days.
      • For County, State of Federal Elections, he must have lived in the state and county for at least 30 days
      • For City Election, he must have resided in the city he is applying to vote in for at least 30 days
      • For Taxing District Election, he must have resided for at least 30 days
  3. After complying with the requirements and filling out the registration card, the former felon may choose to send the card via mail or submit it personally to the government agency concerned. It is important to note that once cannot send his registration card via email or fax as the original signature is required on file.
  4. A mail notice will be sent to the registrant. The notice will also verify the address of the registrant and indicate the polling precinct.

Felons incarcerated in Idaho may restore their political and civil rights upon completion of their sentence and payment of restitution fees as ordered by the court. Former felons must only comply with the requirements set by law and take the necessary steps in order to vote again.


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