The short answer: it depends on where a federal convicted felon resides.
The long answer: being convicted of a felony by the federal government will result in the loss of many of your civil rights (including the right to vote), but the severity and extent of that loss will depend on the state where you reside. States are given control of the removal and restoration of civil rights of convicted felons regardless of whether the state or federal government prosecuted the case. Some states, like Vermont and Maine, do not restrict a convicted felon’s right to vote and allow them to vote absentee even while they are imprisoned. Other states, like Indiana and Illinois, automatically restore voting rights after the term of imprisonment is complete. While others, like North Carolina and West Virginia, restore voting rights after the term of imprisonment and any probation and parole is complete. In these states a federal felon will have their voting rights restored the same as a state felon.
In contrast, there are states like Kentucky that remove a felon’s right to vote and do not automatically restore that right after any length of time. Prior to 2016, there was only one mechanism for restoring the voting rights of a state convicted felon: a pardon from the Governor. Ky. Const. § 77. After July 2016, certain Kentucky Class D felonies became eligible for expungement, which restores a felon’s civil liberties, including the right to vote. KRS 431.073. Unfortunately, federal felonies were not included in the new law. Additionally, because of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, states are not entitled to pardon a federal felony; only the President can grant a federal pardon. U.S. Const. art. VI, § 2. As a result, federal felons convicted in Kentucky cannot regain their right to vote unless they receive a pardon from the President.
If you have a state court felony you would like expunged, do not hesitate to use our app for your felony expungement.
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