Statement by New Virginia Majority on Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Latest Restoration of Rights Process

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2016

Statement by New Virginia Majority on Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Latest Restoration of Rights Process

Today, it was announced that Gov. Terry McAuliffe will not be held in contempt for continued efforts to  restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated Virginians. After the Supreme Court of Virginia (SCOVA) struck down Gov. McAuliffe’s April executive order he vowed to prioritize restoration, issuing approximately 13,000 individual orders. Since then over 4,400 of those 13,000 people have re-registered to vote. With today’s decision, SCOVA has thrown out the latest attempt to prevent formerly incarcerated people from voting. We can rest assured that those who re-registered after Gov. McAuliffe’s individual restoration orders were given will have the opportunity to exercise their voting rights in November.

"People in the community can now feel confident the process won't be derailed by any more back and forth litigation about their right to vote," said New Virginia Majority Co-Executive Direct Tram Nguyen. "Now we can focus on the important work of restoring their rights and helping them register to vote."

“This decision gives me hope,” said Christopher Rashad of Richmond, who recently received a restoration order. “Having so many disenfranchised individuals get into the democratic process make me think we may be able to effect serious change in some of the poor decisions made by elected officials.”

Those who oppose felon voting rights oppose democracy. This victory restores our hope that, in the end, justice and progress will always prevail.

Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org, 804-250-6514

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New Virginia Majority organizes for progressive transformation of Virginia through mass organizing of communities of color, women, working people, LGBT communities, and youth to create a Virginia that is democratic, just and sustainable.

 


New Virginia Majority Statement on Del. Marcus B. Simon’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2016

New Virginia Majority Statement on Del. Marcus B. Simon’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Virginia continues to face challenges from an enduring legacy of depriving certain people of their right to vote. New Virginia Majority supports Del. Simon’s (D-Fairfax) proposed constitutional amendment, which recognizes the rights of all citizens to participate in our democracy. We must challenge restrictive voting measures wherever they exist which, in the case of felon voting rights, is as simple as deleting one sentence.

“I will be voting for the first time in my life.” said Tammie Noey, 51, of Richmond, who is an active member of her community and whose voting rights were recently restored. “I am so grateful for this proposed constitutional amendment that recognizes my fundamental rights and no longer allows people like myself to be erased from the democratic process."

Del. Simon's proposed amendment removes an outdated, racist barrier to the right to vote. Felony disenfranchisement serves no legitimate purpose and is designed solely to lock certain people out of the voting process. The General Assembly has a choice to make – continue to uphold the vestiges of Jim Crow, or leave racism where it belongs, in the past.

Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org, 804-250-6514

 


Statement by New Virginia Majority on Sen. Norment’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment

For Immediate Release

September 1, 2016

In response to Sen. Norment’s recently proposed legislation, New Virginia Majority Co-Executive Director Tram Nguyen issued the following statement:

This is not the time for Republicans to pick and choose which voting-age adults get to have a voice, and which do not. The time for that was in the Jim Crow era, when racist power structures sought to keep people of color out of power. People who have served their sentences and completed all the requirements of probation and parole shouldn’t be punished for life. They have already been before a judge and a jury. The disenfranchisement of people who have already served sentences for prior mistakes is an outdated, discriminatory vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past. To keep imposing a sentence on them is not justice, it’s retribution. Adding insult to injury, the fines, fees and restitution amount to a modern-day poll tax.

Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org, 804-250-6514


Statement by New Virginia Majority on Supreme Court Decision Blocking Voting Rights Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2016

Statement by New Virginia Majority on Supreme Court Decision Blocking Voting Rights Restoration

By invalidating the executive order granting restoration of voting rights to formerly incarcerated people, the Virginia Supreme Court has sadly decided to continue denying democratic participation to 206,000 Virginians – over half of whom are African American.

"This is heartbreaking news after several months of hearing thousands of people tell us they had finally been given a voice and that they felt redeemed," said New Virginia Majority co-executive director Tram Nguyen. "The Court has taken that away from them again."

The decision upholds a Jim Crow-era law that denies 1 in 4 African Americans the right to vote.

“This really hurts me. This hurts me a lot,” said 48-year-old Louise Benjamin of Richmond, a New Virginia Majority member who was recently registered to vote under the executive order.  “I’ve never been able to vote. This would be my first time and it means a lot to me. I am trying to make a difference in my community and I’m not able to do that now.”

We are committed to making sure that the thousands of voters who were registered through New Virginia Majority since the April 22 executive order will be able to re-register prior to November. And we will continue to advocate for the basic constitutional rights of all Virginians.

Contact:

Tram Nguyen, 703-589-0925, tnguyen@newvirginiamajority.org
Jon Liss, 703-402-8021, jliss@newvirginiamajority.org

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New Virginia Majority is organizes for progressive transformation of Virginia through mass organizing of communities of color, women, working people, LGBT people, youth and progressive people to create a Virginia that is democratic, just and sustainable.


Arlington County Board Unanimously Votes to Support Temporary Licenses for Immigrant Drivers

Arlington County Board Unanimously Votes to Support Temporary Licenses for Immigrant Drivers


ARLINGTON –On Tuesday, June 21 the Arlington County Board considered whether or not to support state legislation permitting licenses for immigrant drivers.  The Arlington Chapter of New Virginia Majority has been meeting with County representatives for the last year seeking support for this legislation.   The Arlington County Board meeting was held at 3 PM at 2200 Clarendon Blvd. in Arlington. The board voted 4-0 to unanimously support the measure.

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In Virginia, the race is on to register 200,000 former felons

 “canvassers from New Virginia Majority were fanning out across Virginia’s urban crescent, paperwork at the ready, hunting for newly eligible voters…They collected more than 100 applications. In one hour. In the rain.”

“People say it’s political. But for us, this is a moral issue and something that’s beyond any election cycle, beyond any candidate. It’s about giving a voice to a community that has felt voiceless.” - Tram Nguyen, co-executive director

Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/in-virginia-the-race-is-on-to-register-200000-former-felons/2016/05/05/8c794ad0-0c9f-11e6-8ab8-9ad050f76d7d_story.html

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McAuliffe Restores the Rights of 206,000 Ex-Offenders

Listen to Tram's spot on WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show

“It is a historic day for democracy in Virginia and across our nation,”

“The disenfranchisement of people who have served their sentences was an outdated, discriminatory vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past.”

- Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of the New Virginia Majority (quoted by the Washington Post)

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To find out if your rights have been restored go to: https://solutions.virginia.gov/RestorationOfRights/search

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