Who Must Pay to Regain the Vote? A 50-State Survey (Update)

This report is an updated review of each U.S. state’s voting rights laws as they relate to payment of court fines, fees, and restitution. The original report was published in July 2020. This latest report reflects California and Iowa’s developments on the issue of restoring voting rights based upon payment of court fines, fees, and restitution and includes a 50-state map, table and each state’s relevant legal provisions. 

You can read the full text of the report here

Key findings

  • 10 states deny reenfranchisement indefinitely due to unpaid fines, fees, and restitution. 
  • 15 states delay reenfranchisement based upon unpaid fines, fees, and restitution in certain circumstances. In 21 states and the District of Columbia, payment of fines, fees, and restitution has no bearing on the restoration of voting rights. 
  • Four states only reenfranchise through discretionary use of constitutional clemency. 
  • In November 2020, California’s state constitution was amended to restore the right to vote to people on parole.
  • In August 2020, the Governor of Iowa issued an executive order to automatically restore a person’s right to vote after their sentence has been discharged upon completion of any term of confinement or supervision, regardless of unpaid court fines and fees.
Margaret Love and David Schlussel
Collateral Consequences Resource Center