Losing Your Right to Vote After a Felony Conviction in Illinois

During the COVID-19 crisis, a Schaumburg man has seen his restaurant profit plummet to the point that he will need to file for bankruptcy. While watching everything he has worked for in the last 10 years blow up in smoke, he has become increasingly depressed. He is now getting foreclosure notices because he has not been able to pay the mortgage on the home that he and his family love so much.

One night, after having a few beers while trying to figure out what to do next, he decided to run to the gas station store to stock up on some more beer. Even though he thought he was sober, he sees the tell-tale flashing lights behind him. He faces a felony conviction for his DUI, which could include over a year of jail time. What he does not realize is that a felony conviction can come with multiple damaging collateral consequences, including a loss of the right to vote.

Loss of Voting Rights After an Illinois Criminal Conviction

With the 2020 election coming up in November, tensions are high. Many of us are waiting to cast our vote and have our voices heard. In Illinois, not everyone can vote. Those convicted of a felony lose their voting rights while they are incarcerated and serving time for their crime. Once they are released from prison, their voting rights are restored.

Many people do not understand the rules when it comes to voting with a criminal record in Illinois. Each state has its own rules as to which people with criminal convictions can vote. In Illinois, convicted felons can vote as long as they are not actively serving time in prison. Whether you are in court waiting to see how the court will rule, or you just walked out of prison, you can vote. You can also vote while you are on probation or if you are on parole.

However, if you are serving your prison sentence on work release, or as prison furlough, you cannot vote in any election until you complete your prison sentence. You lose your right to vote while you are in prison, and you will need to re-register to vote after you have been released from prison.

Pardons in Illinois

Certain criminal convictions at the state level are eligible for pardon, otherwise known as executive clemency, but you and your criminal defense attorney have to ask for that pardon from the Governor. While a pardon will not erase your criminal record, it will enable you to reinstate your right to vote.

You do Not Want to Lose Your Right to Vote

Elections are incredibly important for all of us here in Illinois. You do not want to lose your right to have a say in local, state, and federal government because of a felony criminal conviction. Hiring an experienced lawyer is the best way to combat a felony conviction.

When you need an attorney, experience matters. The criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson advocate effectively for our clients. We understand that everyone makes mistakes, and one mistake should not ruin a person’s life and prevent that person from voting, finding housing, or finding a good job. If you have been charged with a felony, we can help. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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