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Inmate Voting

As we return to election season, jail officials must be mindful that they may be required to provide inmates with a method of casting a ballot. Depending on the state, people convicted of a felony are often ineligible to vote. But many jail inmates have not been convicted of a felony, and many states have expansive absentee voting rights.

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects an inmate’s right to vote when that inmate is qualified to vote under state and federal law. If jail officials unnecessarily delay the processing of an inmate’s ballot, or deny a qualified inmate a ballot entirely, then they may have unconstitutionally interfered with the inmate’s right to vote. Therefore, it is critical for jail officials to have a thorough understanding of a state’s requirements related to absentee ballots so that inmates can timely submit a ballot and have it counted.

Interested in learning more?

PLS offers police online self-study legal training link: on a wide variety of practical issues to help jail officials make good decisions in challenging situations.

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