Landing in prison historically translated to the restriction, if not total loss, of voting rights across the United States.
Up until Assembly Bill 431 passed in 2019, Nevadans convicted of certain serious felonies — or repeat felony offenders — had to wait two years for their civil right restored, or had to petition the court to do so.
That meant that more than 90,000 Nevada adults weren’t allowed to vote in 2016, or more than 4 percent of voting age adults, according to the Silver State Voices nonprofit, which endorsed the bill.
With the passage of the law, Nevada became one of 23 states that bars felony offenders from voting only while they’re imprisoned, with the exception of Maryland, where an offender convicted for “buying or selling” votes requires a state pardon, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Felony offenders in two states and the District of Columbia never lose their right to cast a ballot, while 11 states have more stringent requirements for the restoration of the right, according to the conference.
The law was introduced in March 2019 by then-Assemblyman Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas. It automatically extended the restoration of voting rights — which had previously only applied to people convicted of lesser felonies — to all felonies. It also allowed people on felony parole and probation to immediately have their voting rights restored.
It was signed by then-Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Frierson has since been appointed the U.S. attorney for Nevada, while Sisolak lost re-election in 2022 to Gov. Joe Lombardo.
Who gets their voting rights restored?
Any eligible Nevadan with a felony conviction who is released from prison, and any offender serving parole or probation, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Ex-felons still have to meet the standard requirements to register to vote: be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old who’s lived in Nevada for at least 30 days before an election and has lived in their precinct for at least 10 days.
People who had their voter registration canceled because of a conviction can re-register once out of prison. They can register to vote here.
Can city or county jail inmates vote?
Assembly Bill 286, introduced by Assemblywoman Brittney Miller, D-Las Vegas, during the 2023 Nevada Legislature, would require city and county jails to develop procedures for inmates to register to vote and cast a ballot. The legislation passed both houses of the Legislature and is on its way to Gov. Joe Lombardo.