When you register to vote, if you’ve had a felony conviction, remember to check the box indicating that. Failure to do so may result in further legal action because when you sign the form, you are confirming that everything on the registration form is true and accurate. Misrepresentation on the form is a felony. If you accidentally forgot to check the box indicating you’ve had a felony, contact the election commission immediately to report that mistake.
The Shelby County Election Commission follows Tennessee law and does not file charges or prosecute people who make a misrepresentation on the Voter Registration form. That is done by the district attorney’s office.
In Tennessee, people convicted of certain felonies are not eligible to vote. See below for more information.
The Tennessee Constitution allows the legislature to deny the right to vote to people who have been convicted of certain crimes. The legislature passed laws that prohibit people convicted for various felonies from voting.
However, the legislature also has passed laws that allow those who have been convicted to restore their rights. The process you must follow depends upon the crime committed and the year of conviction. If your conviction was prior to January 15, 1973, click here
for more information. If your conviction was between January 15, 1973 and May 17, 1981, click here
If your conviction occurred after May 15, 1981
, the information below applies to you.
Tennessee law allows most people who have a felony conviction to restore their voting rights after they have completed their restitution. If your conviction was for murder, rape, or treason you will probably not be allowed to vote in Tennessee. If your conviction was expunged, then answer “no” to the felony question on the voter registration form.
Before starting the process, please answer these questions:
Have you been released from prison or jail and have you finished probation?
Have you paid your court costs and any restitution ordered?
Are you current on your child support (if you were ordered to pay child support)?
If the answer to any of the three questions is no, then you will not be able to restore your right to vote at this time.
However, if you answered yes to all that apply to you, then here are the steps to obtain a Certificate of Restoration (COR).
Get one form for each conviction. You do not fill out the form yourself.
Take the form to the correct office. The addresses are at the bottom of this section.
Mail or bring the form to the Shelby County Election Commission, along with a completed voter registration application.
We will send the form to the State for approval.
If the State approves it, we will register you to vote.
If approved, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail. If not approved, you will receive a letter explaining why.
The Certificate of Restoration allows you to vote but If you want to run for public office, you will need a court order, which is a different process.
To get the Certificate of Restoration completed, go to:
If you were convicted of a state offense in Shelby County:
If you were convicted of a federal offense:
167 N Main Street
If your conviction was in another state, the form will need to be completed in the county in the state where you were convicted.