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.
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 –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.
“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
“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)
To find out if your rights have been restored go to: https://solutions.virginia.gov/RestorationOfRights/searchRead more