Richmond, VA - New Virginia Majority issued the following statement on the Gillespie Ad Attacking the Rights Restoration Process: Ed Gillespie’s recent ad attacking the current rights restoration process is more of the same fear-mongering that has defined his campaign.
Restoring the right to vote to all formerly incarcerated people strengthens our communities and our democracy. Instead of providing this vision for Virginia, Ed Gillespie would rather attack some of our most vulnerable communities and deprive certain people of their fundamental right to vote.
“Preventing citizens from voting because of their past mistakes or their inability to pay does not reflect the values of a true democracy,” said New Virginia Majority Co-Executive Director Tram Nguyen. “We strongly reject any notion that seeks to uphold Jim Crow attacks on voting rights.”
In Virginia, roughly one in five Black voters is disenfranchised because of felon disenfranchisement. We reject Gillespie’s efforts to demonize, silence, and nullify the voices and votes of African American, immigrant, and formerly incarcerated voters.
“I'm appalled by the antiquated mentality that seeks to permanently demonize people and withhold the ballot from us. I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a taxpayer, and a neighbor,” said Tammie Hagen, a community organizer whose rights were restored last year. “To claim that I shouldn’t be able to have a say in who I want on my grandchildren’s school board or who I want in office making decisions on my health care is ludicrous and has no bearing on the safety of my community.”
Maintaining gratuitous barriers to voting, such as regressive photo ID laws, racial gerrymandering, and anti-rights restoration rhetoric seeks to limit access to the ballot. We will continue to challenge restrictive voting measures wherever they exist.
New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization, and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic, and environmentally sustainable.