Can a Felon Run for President?

Can a Felon Run for President

The role of the President of the United States is crucial to the American identity. They not only represent the people of the United States on a domestic level, but also on a global scale. As a result, when one of the presidential candidates is a convicted felon, there is usually some pushback and concern. In this article. We’ll be answering the question, Can a Felon Run For President?

What Does Being a Felon Mean?

Being a felon implies the individual committed a crime. They were tried in court, and a jury of their peers determined that there was enough evidence to convict that individual.

Not everyone believes the individual should be allowed to run for president because they committed a crime. They may not realize whether a felon can become president.

Here’s what you need to know about whether a convicted felon can be president.

Can a Felon be a President?

Can a Felon Run For President

Yes, a convicted felon can be elected President. There are no federal laws that prevent a convicted felon from becoming President. This is because the list of eligibility requirements is quite short.

A person only needs to meet three requirements to become president.

They include:

  • Must be at least 35 years old.
  • Must be a resident of the United States.
  • Must be a native-born citizen of the United States.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it specify the individual must have a clean criminal record. Because of that, a felon could become the president

How Likely is a Felon to become President?

Whether a convicted felon can become President is more difficult to answer. As of 2021, there has never been a convicted felon in the office of President.

This is large because having a criminal record makes it extremely difficult to persuade people to vote for you. During debates and advertisements, their opponents dig into the felony charge and tear the individual apart.

When a person is a felon, it is very easy to destroy their reputation and image. They do not receive as much support in the election because they lack the trust of the American people.


More Information on how Likely is a Felon to become President

Anyone with access to that record can learn about their crime and sentence. This also means that their adversaries can see it and have the information they need to destroy the individual’s reputation.

After all, if they committed a crime, how can the American people rely on them to uphold the law and represent it to the rest of the world? When a president or anyone in power believes they are above the law, it is dangerous.

A felon is frequently someone who believes the law does not apply to them. It can cause a dangerous combination that most people do not want to see in politics.

Can a Felon Run For a State-Level Office?

Can a Felon Run For President

Another factor to consider is that a candidate for office must be a resident of a state. The people of that state must also state whether they support them as a candidate.

Running as a felon becomes more complicated at this point.

A few states have laws in place regarding felons and public office. Some simply refuse to allow it. Others allow it, but only for a limited time.

Georgia, for example, will allow a felon to run for public office after serving a sentence of ten years. It hasn’t been ten years since their sentencing.

More Information on if a Felon Run for a State-Level Office

For example, if they sentenced a person to ten years in prison, they cannot run for office for another ten years after they are released.

They may feel they are too old or have lost interest in running for office by that point.

Some states, such as Texas, determine eligibility based on the type of crime committed. For example, if the felon committed a crime involving forgery, bribery, or perjury, they bar them from ever running for office in any capacity.

They can, however, run for office if they committed another crime that does not fall into one of those categories.

How Can a Felon Run for Office?

A felon can run for office in a few different ways. The first step for the felon is to clear their record. This entails serving their sentence and fulfilling its requirements.

Some sentences require the felon to pay a sum of money in restitution.

Others cause incarceration. Minor offenses may only cause a certain number of hours of community service. After serving their sentence, the felon may apply for clemency.

A judge will then review the sentence and their performance to determine whether they have met the clemency requirements. If that is the case, their rights will be restored.

This includes the ability to vote.

He or She Needs to Make their Record Clean 

Once their record is in better shape, the felon must spend a significant amount of time and effort cleaning up their image. Their opponents will exploit the fact that they are a felon and attempt to tear them apart as a result.

The worst thing a felon running for office can do is try to conceal their criminal record. It’s not possible. Instead, they must be forthright and honest about the crime.

While they should not make excuses, they can tell their side of the story.

When you’re a felon, the best way to flee is to show the American people that you’ve changed. Everyone enjoys a good underdog story. 

Where can a Felon Find Support When Running for Office?

Finding support is the most difficult aspect of running for office as a convicted felon. Their family should be the most supportive. Running as a felon puts you in a very vulnerable position.

It’s essentially an open invitation for the entire world to scrutinize your past and pass judgment on you. That can have a mental and emotional impact on someone.

The felon needs firm support at home to help them get through it.

Whether it comes from their spouse, children, parents, or even their partner, if the support is lacking, the felon will not last long in the race. Another important source of help is from their local community.

Can Felons Vote?

Can Felons Vote?

Being able to vote for oneself is an essential part of running for office. It is not only an American tradition but also a symbol. Felons may not do so, which may jar some voters and prevent them from voting them into office.

The issue is that the ability to vote for felons varies by state. Currently, only two states allow felons to vote whether they are in prison. These are the states of Vermont and Maine.

Felons may vote while incarcerated. When a person is convicted of a felony, they revoke the right to vote in 14 states.

Further Information on Whether a Can Felons Vote?

They take away their right to vote while in custody and even while on parole. They can vote again only after they complete the parole portion of their sentence. New Jersey and Texas are among those states.

Then there are states that do not allow felons to vote at all. When a person is convicted of a felony, they lose the right to vote for the rest of their lives unless they are pardoned.

Because pardons are difficult to get, many felons in the United States can never vote. Arizona and Alabama are among the states that prohibit felons from voting unless they receive a pardon.

Can Someone in Prison Run for President?

Can a Felon Run For President

Another factor to consider when deciding whether a felon can run for president is how they will act as president while in prison.

There have been candidates who ran in the past while serving a prison sentence.

Eugene V. Debs was one of the most well-known. He ran for office while incarcerated. He even used his prison sentence to his advantage, handing out campaign buttons that read Convict No. 9653.

They imprisoned Debs for her anti-World War I protest. Despite serving time in prison, Lyndon LaRouche ran for president in 1992. He was serving time in prison for mail fraud and tax evasion.

What the Law Say in this Regard

What The Law Say In this Regard

While neither of these people became president, they might have. If that occurs, it begs the question of how the president will serve the American people while imprisoned.

A few things could happen if a felon becomes president while incarcerated. The first possibility is that Congress impeaches the president. Impeachment is a possibility because the president committed a crime.

It remains to be seen whether it will be successful. The second possibility is that the Cabinet will invoke the 25th amendment to remove the president from office.

The 25th amendment addresses presidential succession.


Has a President Ever Committed a Crime?

In the presidency’s history, there have been a few impeachments. The first occurred with Andrew Johnson. Following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, they elected him President.

The House of Representatives impeached him for violating the Tenure of Office Act. Although enough representatives supported impeachment, the Senate chose not to convict him.

As a result, despite being impeached, they did not convict Johnson of his crime. Bill Clinton was another president who came close to being convicted.

They believed he was committing perjury by denying his infamous affair with Monica Lewinsky.


Because the laws governing presidential eligibility are lax, a felon could become President of the United States. However, gaining support as a felon is difficult when opponents use the candidate’s criminal history against them.

However, if a convicted felon were to become President, it would put Congress in a difficult position.

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