The following questions and answers are based on conversations from ACLU of Pennsylvania’s Speaking Freely podcast episodes with Donnell Drinks, election protection coordinator from the ACLU of Pennsylvania; Alexa Grant, program advocate at Common Cause; and former Pennsylvania deputy secretary of state and election security expert Marian Schneider.
You can listen to the full episode of Speaking Freely with Donnell Drinks and Alexa Grant here.
You can listen to the full episode of Speaking Freely with Marian Schneider here.
Voting with a criminal record
What voting rights does a person with a criminal record have? Essentially the same voting rights as a person without a criminal record. If you are in pretrial detention, on probation or parole, or are set to be released from incarceration by Election Day, you have the right to vote. The only exception to the right to vote for those with a criminal record is for people who are currently incarcerated due to a felony conviction — those individuals may not vote.
How do I vote if I’m in a halfway house? If you are in a halfway house, you must register to vote absentee at an address different from that of the halfway house, but you can have the ballot mailed to your halfway house. More information on voting rights for those with a criminal record here.
Other common questions
Can I take a selfie inside my voting booth? The law is unclear. But just to be safe, if you do take a selfie to post on social media, do not include a picture of your ballot.
Can I wear a political shirt or button inside the polling place? Yes. So long as you are not a poll worker and are not actively campaigning or electioneering, you can wear political attire to the polls.
What do I do if I’m the victim or witness of voter intimidation or other issues? Call or text 866-OUR-VOTE to talk with a nonpartisan, trained election protection volunteer if you have any unusual issues voting or if there appears to be voter intimidation occurring.
What else can I do to help with election protection on Election Day? You can sign up to be a poll worker to help ensure voting goes as smoothly as possible. More information on becoming a poll worker here.