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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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The Secretary of State, the chief election officer in the state, addresses the effect of a felony conviction on registering to vote in a 2004 memo, Effect of Felony Conviction on Voter Registration. When discussing general eligibility, they say:

Pursuant to Section 11.002 of the Texas Election Code (the "Code"), once a felon has successfully completed his or her punishment, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or has been pardoned, then that person is immediately eligible to register to vote.

Determining whether someone has “fully discharged” their sentence is crucial. The library cannot make the determination for you, but we can point you to the relevant state laws. Our collection of Restrictions on Convicted Felons links you to sections of the Texas constitution and the Texas Election Code that set out requirements for voting. For example, subsections (a)(4) and (b) of Section 11.002 of the Texas Election Code describe who is a “qualified voter”:

Sec. 11.002. QUALIFIED VOTER. (a) In this code, "qualified voter" means a person who:
[…]
  (4) has not been finally convicted of a felony or, if so convicted, has:
   (A) fully discharged the person's sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court; or
   (B) been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disability to vote;
[…]
(b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(4), a person is not considered to have been finally convicted of an offense for which the criminal proceedings are deferred without an adjudication of guilt.

For more information about the voting rights of felons and many other resources to help ex-offenders who have been released from incarceration, see our Re-Entry Resources for Ex-Offenders guide. For more information about voting in general, see Voting in Texas: Tools and Tips, authored by Texas Legal Services Center and available from TexasLawHelp.org.

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