Can A Felon Run For President?

Can A Felon Run For President

Being a felon can be quite a setback to the prospects of a person. Most felons are aware of the fact that they tend to lose some of the rights made available for them by the American constitution. Some of these rights are the fundamental rights that make life worth living. In general, the United States is one of the countries that can boast of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, right to vote and be voted for if you qualify. We will answer some of the questions bothering on the rights and requirements for a person to run for public office. But first, Can a felon run for president?

Can a felon run for president?

Yes, a person convicted of a felony can run for the office of President of the United States of America. The reason for this is that no part of the constitution prohibits a felon from contesting. The constitution spells out that all you have to do to become the president is to be 35 years old, a native-born American, be a resident of America. Also, he can only serve two terms of 4 years each at the maximum. But if he or she has already served up to two years of another person’s tenure, he or she can only go for one more term of 4 years thus meaning that he or she can only serve 6 years maximum. The only major negative effect of being convicted as a felon is that it hurts your character and this can be leveraged upon by your opponents.

Has There Ever Been An American President Convicted Of A Felony

So far, there has never been an American president that has served time or been convicted as a felon before entering into office.

What Are The State Requirements To Run For Office?

When it comes to the issue of felons running for public office, it is subject to the state that is in question. Some states impose rather strict restrictions on people who have a conviction for felony while others do not. There are also varied responses in the manner with which the states handle such issues. Some states allow felons whose offense was ten years and above to run for office.

Some other states insist that anybody that is convicted of a crime that has to do with moral turpitude may not be allowed to contest for the position.  Issues of moral turpitude include deceit, lying, fraudulent receipt of public funds or issues of defaulting on financial responsibilities.

For instance, the state of Texas indicates that anyone that has a conviction for bribery, forgery, perjury, and other high crimes may be excluded from holding public office. The state of Georgia, on the other hand, holds that anyone that has been convicted of a crime about moral turpitude may not be allowed to hold office. The only exception to this is if the person has had his or her rights restored and ten years must have elapsed after the sentence. They must also not have been convicted of moral turpitude or crime.

How Can One Get His Rights Restored?

For a felon to have all their rights fully restored, they must complete all the parts of their sentence. This includes probation and they must have paid all their restitution and not have any pending criminal charge. In a situation where they meet these criteria, they can seek for their rights via a process known as clemency. It should be pointed out that clemency will not in any way establish a state of innocence. Thus the record will still stand, but the rights of the felon will be restored thus permitting them to run for and hold public office.

The loss of civil rights greatly hurts the ability of a person to hold public office. It, however, does not affect the right of the person to run for the office.  There are situations where certain felons have run for office and been elected. However, due to the extant laws of the state, they were not sworn into office.

The aforementioned is quite different in the case of federal positions. In this case, when a person decides to run for a public federal office like congress, they are free to run, but regarding if they can serve, that is a prerogative of Congress. For you to be eligible to run for congress, you have to be 25 years old and have to have been a citizen for at least 7 years.  In the case of the senate, you have to be at least 30 years old and been a citizen for at least 9 years. You must also be an inhabitant of the state you seek to represent when you are elected.

The federal elected positions are often different from the state positions mainly because the American constitution is minimalist. This means that many decisions are left to the states to establish.

How Can A Felon Succeed While Running For Office?

The moment the rights of a felon have been restored and they decide that they want to run for office, it is ideal that they have a plan to handle the felony conviction. The fact is that a felony is a component of your public record and as such, it can’t be hidden. The secret to success in this regard is in the manner it is handled. Ideally, it is wise that you do not attempt to hide it; neither should you try to make it the focus of your campaign. You can simply make it a part of the campaign.

The felony can be seen as a part of the person’s past while they made errors.  They then came to a point where they decided to live their lives quite differently. Public service is indeed an important aspect of it. During a campaign, even though the criminal record is there, it should not define who the felon is. If the issue is however raised, you must be open and honest about it. There is no need to be defensive about anything or even dwelling on the mistakes made in the past.

What Kind Of Support Should Be Given To Felons Running For Office?

When a convicted felon decides to run for office, the first thing he or she needs is the support and encouragement of their family members. They ought to be encouraged to be focused on the goal of becoming elected as a public official. They must be ready to serve the public while also establishing some level of trust. If you are close to one, ensure that you remind them of their innate desire to serve the greater good. You should do all you can to ensure that they do not give up. Also ensure that you stand by them in their time of need, because when they succeed, all will profit.

Can A Prisoner Vote And Be Voted For

This debate is one that has to do with the right of people to vote for prisoners and there are currently only states that allow felons to vote in prison. The states are Vermont and Maine. Also in 14 states including Utah, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, felons will lose their rights to vote while in prison. The right is however restored after they have served their time.  In 22 states including Texas and New Jersey, felons will lose their rights to vote while incarcerated and even when on parole. The felons may have to pay certain fines before they are allowed to vote again.

In about 12 states, which includes Arizona and Alabama felons lose their rights to vote due to certain crimes and they may only get the rights restored when they are pardoned.  What this means is that about 48 states do not allow prisoners to vote. It, therefore, suffices to say that over 6 million people in America cannot vote because they are in prison.

What Are The Categories Of Voting Rights?

The restoration of the rights to vote for ex-offenders is different from one point of America to the other. Some of the classifications of voting rights include the one after parole, the one that ends after been released, the one that ends after probation and the circumstantial one. Quite several efforts have been made to help the rights of people to vote and be voted for.


We have been able to establish the fact that a felon should be able to vote and be voted for. This is however subject to the existing rules of the state. Currently, there is no known President of America that has ever been convicted of a felony.  Also, the hurdles faced by a felon are one that can be very challenging to surmount. This is why the family and friends of a felon should be very supportive of their dreams and aspirations because it is a part of their past.

You May Like These Articles As Well:

Was FDR A Good President?

Were There Riots When Obama Won? Here’s What We Know

What Does Establish Justice Mean? A Constitutional Perspective