GA Secretary of State Clarifies Returning Citizens’ Voting Eligibility

Georgia’s Secretary of State has added language to his website, clarifying that “outstanding monetary obligations other than fines, such as unpaid restitution, fees, costs, or surcharges” are not a barrier to voting, for people who have been convicted of a felony.

In Georgia, people who have been convicted of a felony are eligible to vote after they have “completed any term of incarceration, probation, or parole and paid all fines.”

However, before this change to the Secretary’s website, there was conflicting guidance about whether returning citizens were required to pay financial obligations, other than fines, before becoming eligible to vote.

Common Cause Georgia and other organizations are hosting a “Decarcerate Now” Town Hall this Friday, September 18 at 7pm to discuss the importance of decarceration, especially in the time of COVID-19. Media are welcome to join. Register at

Statement by Common Cause Georgia Executive Director Aunna Dennis

Our ‘government by the people’ is stronger when more people are able to exercise their right to vote.

Unfortunately, Georgia’s returning citizens have faced a bureaucratic barrier to voting: conflicting advice about their eligibility. Even though casting an improper vote would put returning citizens at risk of prosecution, state agencies had not provided clarity on eligibility standards.

We appreciate this official statement from Secretary Raffensperger.

We also appreciate the hundreds of Common Cause Georgia members who contacted the Secretary’s office, asking him to issue this clarification.

Government bureaucracy should not get in the way of anyone’s right to vote.

We encourage all returning citizens who are eligible to vote to register.

We look forward to discussing this, and other issues, during this Friday’s “Decarcerate Now” Town Hall.

More information and online registration is available on the Secretary of State’s website:  The registration deadline for this fall’s election is October 5th.