National maps on expungement, pardoning, and voting rights restoration

The Collateral Consequences Resource Center is pleased to unveil six new maps that visualize the Center’s research on national laws and policies for restoring rights and opportunities to people with a record. These maps are now available below and on the 50-state comparison pages (expungement, sealing & other record relief; civil rights; and pardoning). Each state can be clicked for a detailed summary of state law and policy.

The Center will keep these maps updated, along with the rest of the Restoration of Rights Project, with future changes to the law.

I. Record Relief (Expungement, Sealing, Set-Aside)

The first three maps categorize each state’s record relief laws based on the availability of conviction relief, automatic relief, and non-conviction relief:

Authority for Expunging, Sealing, or Setting Aside Convictions
Broader felony & misdemeanor relief Limited felony & misdemeanor relief Misdemeanors & pardoned felonies Misdemeanor relief No general sealing or set-aside

Note: Even if misdemeanor and/or felony relief is generally available, various offenses are generally ineligible. Conversely, states categorized as having no court sealing or set-aside may make relief available to limited categories of convictions (e.g., youthful drug convictions, convictions of human trafficking victims) and nearly all authorize sealing of at least some non-conviction records.

Automatic Record Clearing
A range of non-convictions, misdemeanors & certain felonies A range of non-convictions & misdemeanors Certain minor misdemeanors Certain marijuana-related records A range of non-convictions+

Note: A number of these laws have been enacted recently but have not yet been implemented or become effective. “Misdemeanors” and “felonies” refers to convictions. Although not noted in the chart, a number of laws covering misdemeanor and/or felony convictions also cover infractions and/or violations.

Process for Expunging or Sealing Non-Convictions
Automatic relief+ Expedited at disposition++ or upon admin. request Court petition
(less burdensome/ restrictive)
Court petition
(more burdensome/ restrictive)*

+ These automatic relief mechanisms may be limited: they may be prospective only or exclude certain dispositions.  In several states, uncharged arrests are not covered, and require the filing of a court petition to obtain relief.
++ Where relief is “expedited at disposition,” uncharged arrests typically require the filing of a court petition to obtain relief, and older cases may as well.
* Often, more burdensome procedural requirements apply, such as waiting periods, document collection, service of process, filing fees, contested hearings, discretionary review. In addition, a number of these states make certain non-convictions wholly ineligible for relief because of the person’s past record, the nature of the charges, or the type of disposition.


II. Voting Rights

The next pair of maps classify state laws regarding loss and restoration of voting rights due to conviction:

Loss of Voting Rights Due to Conviction

Never Upon felony conviction & incarceration Upon any conviction & incarceration Upon conviction for a listed offense Upon felony conviction Upon conviction for felony or certain misdoes

Restoration of Voting Rights Lost Due to Conviction

Not lost On release from custody Completion of incarceration & parole (or earlier Completion of incarceration & supervision Completion of incarceration, supervision, & specified court debt Only by executive clemency


III. Pardoning

A final map categorizes states in terms of pardoning frequency:

Relative Pardoning Frequency

(regular process; significant % of apps granted)
(regular process; small % of apps granted)
(irregular process, depends on governor)
(few or no pardons in 20 years)