Elections FAQ 12

Is a person convicted of a felony an eligible elector in Wisconsin?

It depends on whether the person’s voting rights have been restored. Persons convicted of felonies are precluded from voting by the Wisconsin constitution and statutes unless their civil rights are restored. Art. III, sec. 2, Wis. Const.; Wis. Stat. sec. 6.03(1)(b). In Wisconsin, the civil rights of every person who is convicted of a crime, including a felony, are restored if they serve out their term of imprisonment or otherwise satisfy their sentence or are granted a pardon by the governor. Wis. Stat. sec. 304.078; Art. V, sec. 6, Wis. Const.

However, it must be emphasized that the Wisconsin constitutional provisions making persons convicted of a felony and certain federal crimes or state misdemeanors ineligible to any elected office provides an exception for restoration of this civil right only by pardon. Art. XIII, sec. 3(2), Wis. Const. Therefore the provisions of Wis. Stat. sec. 304.078 do not operate to restore a person's right to hold public office in Wisconsin after conviction of such an offense and the person may hold public office only if they have been pardoned of the conviction.