In 2017, Alabama’s voting laws changed. As a result, many Alabama citizens with felony convictions are eligible to vote. Alabama law now describes felony convictions as either “disqualifying” or “non-disqualifying.” If you have been convicted of one or more “non-disqualifying felonies,” regardless of how recently or how long ago, you have not lost your voting rights and you are eligible to register to vote. For example, convictions for felony drug possession, attempted drug trafficking, or distribution of drugs are “non-disqualifying.” On the other hand, a conviction for trafficking in drugs is “disqualifying.”
Even if you have been convicted of “disqualifying felonies,” (such as trafficking in drugs, robbery, assault in the 1st or 2nd degree, forgery, etc) and have lost your voting rights, a process exists so that you can have your voting rights restored. If you have completed your sentence and are not on probation, parole or community supervision, have paid all fines, fees or restitution on the “disqualifying” felony or felonies and have no new felony charges pending, you are eligible to apply to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles (ABPP) for a Certificate of Eligibility to Register to Vote (CERV). The ABPP must issue a CERV after the passage of 44 days and a determination that the information on the CERV application is accurate.
Are you ready to get started?
STEP 1. Because determining your eligibility to register or to apply for a CERV can be a confusing and often challenging task, At Return My Vote, we have staff who are trained in the details of the law and have access to the state’s criminal records database that contains the information you need to determine if you are eligible to vote or have your rights restored. We provide free personal consultations to provide you with the information you need to determine your status and the steps you need to take to be able to vote as soon as possible. If you wish to have a Return-My-Vote consultant assist you in this process, just click on the Request a Consultation icon on the Home page and schedule an appointment. We will help you navigate each step of the process.
STEP 2. If you prefer doing it yourself, we recommend first checking to see whether you may be registered already. Sometimes people are not aware that they are already registered to vote. Go to the Secretary of State’s website to determine if you are already registered. Enter your first name, last name and date of birth. If you are registered, when you click on the “Look Up” button, you will see your name, address and “Status Active.”
STEP 3. If you are not registered and have a felony conviction, we have created an easy-to-use flyer that will let you know whether your conviction requires you to restore your voting rights before registering. (Click here to access the RMV List of Disqualifying Convictions.) If you have reviewed this flyer, and your conviction or convictions are not on this list, you can register to vote. You do not have “disqualifying” convictions and you have not lost your voting rights.
STEP 4. Click here to register on-line. (You will need an Alabama driver’s license or a non-driver’s identification.) Or you can request that the SOS mail you a voter registration application or visit the Registrar’s office in the Alabama County in which you live and fill out a voter registration application in person.
STEP 5. If you see your conviction in the list titled “Ineligible for Restoration,” Alabama does not provide for restoration.
STEP 6. If you see your conviction in the list titled “Eligible Only After Pardon,” you must seek a pardon with restoration of your voting rights in order to be eligible to register to vote.
STEP 7. If you see your conviction or convictions in the list titled “CERV-eligible Convictions,” you are eligible to apply for a CERV and have your voting rights restored after 44 days. You must have completed your sentence, including probation, parole or community supervision, not owe any fines, fees or restitution on the “disqualifying” felony or felonies and have no new felonies pending to be eligible for a CERV. Click on this link and you will be taken to the ABPP website and the CERV application form. Fill out this form and email it to ABPP at firstname.lastname@example.org Or, place your CERV application in the mail to: Alabama Bureau of Pardons & Paroles, 100 Capitol Commerce Blvd, Suite 310, Montgomery, AL 36117. Make sure the address you enter on your application is the address where you receive your mail because that is the address to which the ABPP will mail your CERV. You can follow-up with the ABPP at (334) 353-7853 and make sure that they have received your CERV application. If you don’t receive your CERV after 6 or 7 weeks, you can call ABPP and check the status of your application. When you receive your CERV, keep it in a safe place. You will have to take it with you and show it to the clerk in the County Registrar’s office along with your voter registration application in order to be added to the State’s database of active voters. It will cost $3.00 to replace a lost CERV and delay your registration.
FINES, FEES, RESTITUTION (LFO’s):
Many Alabama citizens with “disqualifying” felony convictions have completed their sentences but still owe fines, fees or restitution thus rendering them ineligible for a CERV. There are two (2) processes by which someone can seek to have the State waive the requirement that the fines, fees or restitution be repaid. One process requires an applicant to submit a form to ABPP. Click here for link to this form. The second process requires the applicant to return to the court where the conviction occurred and the LFO’s were ordered. The applicant can ask the judge for an order reducing or eliminating the LFO’s altogether.
If at any time you have any questions about this process or your specific situation, simply click on the Request a Consultation button on the Home page of our website and we will be more than happy to help. Our experience tells us that more often than not, people who think that they are ineligible to vote are mistaken. So, let us confirm your status if you are at all unsure.