Getty/Chris Hondros

If you have a criminal conviction, it doesn't necessarily mean you're ineligible to vote. The laws are different depending on the type of conviction and where you live. The Brennan Center for Justice has a very useful guide that can help you understand these laws in your state.

Here's a summary:

In the following states, those with criminal convictions retain all voting rights (even while in prison):

  • Maine
  • Vermont

In the following states, those with criminal convictions automatically get voting rights restored upon release from prison:

  • The District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts*
  • Maryland**
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah

In the following states, those with criminal convictions automatically get voting rights restored upon release from prison and discharge from parole (people on probation are eligible to vote):

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • New York

In the following states, those with criminal convictions automatically get voting rights restored upon completion of a sentence including prison, parole and probation:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska***
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

In the following states, depending on the conviction, some people with past criminal convictions will need to apply individually to have their voting rights restored:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

In the following states, anyone with a felony conviction will need to apply individually to have their voting rights restored:

  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky

*In Massachusetts, people with convictions for "corrupt practices in respect to elections" must apply individually to have their voting rights restored.

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**Maryland's new law, automatically restoring voting rights upon release from prison, takes effect March 10, 2016.

***In Nebraska, there is a two-year waiting period after a full sentence is completed before voting rights are restored. People convicted of treason in Nebraska must apply individually to have voting rights restored.

This information was gathered from The Brennan Center for Justice.

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