Can an Oregon resident vote after a felony conviction?
I recently had a client with a criminal case, who was preparing to enter a guilty plea to a felony crime. He asked me, “Will I still be able to vote?”
The short answer, in many cases, is “Yes.” Under Oregon law, specifically ORS 137.275, a person with a felony conviction keeps all their civil rights including the right to vote. This is true even if the person is on felony probation.
There is an exception of course, for persons who are incarcerated. When a person convicted of a felony is in jail or prison for that, their right to vote in Oregon is suspended until either (a) released from prison or (b) the conviction is set aside (expunged). ORS 137.281. This is true whether the jail or prison term was imposed up front or for a violation of probation.
In my client’s case, with a felony conviction that results in a sentence of probation and no jail or prison time, he keeps his right to vote unless he violates probation and goes to jail for it. Even then, he should be able to vote after release from his sanction.
As always, the law is complex and your specific circumstances may dramatically affect the outcome of your case. This post should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions about your rights or are facing a situation like this, you should consult with an attorney before taking action.