Ex-Felons Can Vote in Idaho

The Idaho Statesman reports that county election boards have been denying ex-felons the right to vote--erroneously.

As city elections fast approach, county officials could be depriving untold numbers of felons from the ballot box by saying they can´t vote in Idaho. The fact is, people convicted of a felony in Idaho can vote once they´ve completed their sentence, unless they´ve committed treason. Yet it is generally assumed that felons are excluded from the voting booth.

But when The Idaho Statesman surveyed all 44 county election offices, almost a third got it wrong.

Here's the law, so if you know an ex-felon in Idaho, please get the word out:

The state constitution guarantees former felons the right to vote once their citizenship has been restored. State law says that happens once prison, probation or parole are complete for felonies committed in Idaho.

The law applies to those living in Idaho who have felony convictions in other states--if that state has restored their rights.

Generally, if a person has had their civil rights restored by another state, they can vote here, Ysursa said. A felony conviction does not affect a person´s ability to vote in Idaho, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

What the state constitution says

Article VI, Section 3: Section 3. Disqualification of certain persons. No person is permitted to vote, serve as a juror, or hold any civil office who has, at any place, been convicted of a felony, and who has not been restored to the rights of citizenship, or who, at the time of such election, is confined in prison on conviction of a criminal offense.

What the statute says

Idaho Code 18-310 (2) says: “Upon final discharge, a person convicted of any Idaho felony shall be restored the full rights of citizenship, except that for persons convicted of treason” or for people who commit certain crimes, the right to own or possess a firearm is not restored.

Final discharge means “satisfactory completion of imprisonment, probation and parole as the case may be.”

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