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Restoring Votes For Returning Citizens

Free Press Staff Report/Richmond Free Press

Members of the New Virginia Majority, Virginia NAACP, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Virginia Organizing, ACLU of Virginia, and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, along with Del. Don Scott, House Minority Leader, and Sen. Mamie Locke participated in a press conference at the Bell Tower in Capitol Square to speak against the current rights restoration process of the current administration.

Virginia’s three previous administrations have worked toward a more streamlined rights restoration process, which have helped innumerable returning citizens regain their civil rights, including serving on a jury, running for office, serving as a notary, and the right to vote, stated members of various organizations and state legislators.

“Continuing to disenfranchise returning citizens continues to punish them by denying their access to the democratic process. The process that was a pathway to becoming a productive member of society was not broken, and needs to be reinstated as quickly as possible,” said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority.

Duane Edwards, a member of the Virginia Organizing State Governing Board who had his rights restored in 2014, said, “An individual’s civil rights shouldn’t be political. For the last 13 years, Virginia had a fluid process for restoration of rights that had clear instructions. Now the governor has closed the door and Virginians don’t even know what the process is for getting their rights back.”

“The significant reduction of restoring felons’ rights to vote is a step backward and undoes the previous work that granted thousands of Virginians who served their time a second chance,” said Robert N. Barnette Jr., president, Virginia NAACP.


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