Can You Go to Jail for Voting? Yes, If You Are a Non-Citizen.

If you live and work in the United States, it is highly likely that at some point, someone has stopped you and asked if you are registered to vote. Perhaps a volunteer from a political group asked you as you walked down the street to get lunch, or a voter registration form was handed to you at the DMV as you filled out paperwork to get your driver’s license.

While these interactions seem harmless, for those who are not citizens in the United States, registering to vote is a federal crime, and people in our area are being prosecuted for this crime. On September 2, 2020, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina announced that a feral grand jury indicted nineteen individuals for crimes such as voting by a non-citizen, claim of U.S. citizenship by a non-citizen, and false statement in a voter registration application. These individuals now face prison time, fines and could lose their immigration status.


In addition to the consequences from arising from criminal prosecution, voting as a non-citizen or claiming to be a U.S. citizen when you are not a U.S. citizen can permanently bar you from applying for and receiving any type of immigration status. This means that if you have not yet become a naturalized citizen and you vote in an election, you will not be able to receive any immigration status or later become a U.S. citizen.

These consequences are extreme and can be devastating. Therefore, it is important that if you have no status, have a work permit, are a foreign student, or have a green card, do not register to vote and do not vote in the United States.


If you have questions, contact us to set up an appointment.

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