The Debate on Felon Voting Rights in Denver, CO

As the 2020 election approaches, the topic of voting rights for felons has become a hotly debated issue. In Denver, Colorado, there are certain restrictions in place for felons who wish to exercise their right to vote. These restrictions have been a source of controversy and confusion for many individuals, especially those who have been convicted of a felony.

The Basics of Voting Rights in Denver, CO

In order to understand the restrictions on felons voting in Denver, it is important to first understand the basics of voting rights in the city. According to the Colorado Constitution, individuals who are 18 years or older and are citizens of the United States are eligible to vote in any election held in the state. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule.

One of these exceptions is for individuals who have been convicted of a felony. In Denver, felons are not automatically stripped of their right to vote. Instead, they must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to vote again.

The Criteria for Restoring Voting Rights

In order for a felon to regain their right to vote in Denver, they must meet the following criteria:
  • Completion of Sentence: The individual must have completed their sentence, including any probation or parole.
  • No Outstanding Fines or Fees: All fines and fees associated with the conviction must be paid in full.
  • No Pending Charges: The individual must not have any pending charges or warrants against them.
If these criteria are met, then the individual's voting rights will be automatically restored. However, if any of these conditions are not met, then the individual will not be able to vote until they are fulfilled.

The Controversy Surrounding Felon Voting Rights

The issue of felon voting rights has been a contentious one, with arguments on both sides.

Those in favor of restoring voting rights for felons argue that it is a fundamental right and should not be taken away permanently. They also argue that denying felons the right to vote perpetuates a cycle of disenfranchisement and prevents them from fully reintegrating into society. On the other hand, those who oppose restoring voting rights for felons argue that individuals who have committed serious crimes should not have a say in the democratic process. They also argue that felons have already broken the law and should face consequences, including losing their right to vote.

The Impact of Felon Voting Restrictions in Denver

According to data from the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, there are approximately 10,000 individuals in Denver who are unable to vote due to felony convictions. This represents a significant portion of the population and can have a major impact on election outcomes. Furthermore, studies have shown that individuals who are able to vote after being released from prison are less likely to reoffend.

This suggests that restoring voting rights for felons can have a positive impact on reducing recidivism rates and promoting successful reintegration into society.

Efforts to Restore Felon Voting Rights in Denver

In recent years, there have been efforts to restore voting rights for felons in Denver. In 2019, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill into law that automatically restores voting rights for felons upon completion of their sentence. This law went into effect on January 1, 2020. However, there are still some restrictions in place for felons who are currently incarcerated or on parole. These individuals are not eligible to vote until they have completed their sentence and met the other criteria mentioned earlier.


In conclusion, while there are restrictions on felons voting in Denver, there have been efforts to restore their voting rights.

It is important for individuals with felony convictions to understand the criteria for regaining their right to vote and to fulfill those requirements in order to participate in the democratic process. As the debate on felon voting rights continues, it is crucial to consider the impact of these restrictions on individuals and society as a whole.

Angélica Colgrove
Angélica Colgrove

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