What could happen if I voted in an election that I was not legally allowed to vote in?

It depends. If you ACCIDENTALLY voted in an election when you weren’t legally allowed to, you will probably not be in trouble with the law. Voter fraud requires “specific intent.”[249] This means that when you voted, you knew that you were illegally voting, and voted with the purpose of breaking the law. If you PURPOSEFULLY voted in an election when you had no legal right to do so, you could be found guilty of voter fraud.[250] The punishment can be up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. That said, voter fraud is usually only prosecuted when large numbers of people have committed the crime in a way that affects an election’s outcome.[251]

  1. 249

    81 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 321 (1998).

  2. 250

    Cal. Elec. Code § 18560.

  3. 251

    22 U.S.C. § 1973gg-10.