Richmond, VA. – On April 11, 2023 at 12 p.m, New Virginia Majority, Virginia NAACP, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Virginia Organizing, ACLU of Virginia, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Delegate Don Scott, and Senator Mamie Locke will hold a press conference at the Bell Tower in Capitol Square at the intersection of Ninth and Franklin Streets to speak against the current rights restoration process of the current administration.
The three previous administrations have worked towards 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.
“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 NVM.
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.
“People are deserving of second chances and the opportunity to rehabilitate and to reintegrate into society,” stated Deb Wake, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “Your vote is your voice and your ability to say who represents you and makes the laws that affect you, your family and your community–no matter who you are.”
“Unlike previous administrations, which were transparent about eligibility and process for voting rights restoration, the Youngkin administration appears content to leave Virginians in the dark,” said ACLU of Virginia policy director Ashna Khanna. “The thousands of people released from prison during Gov. Youngkin’s time in office whose right to vote is still pending more than a year later – disproportionately people of color – is proof the Commonwealth deserves better.”
“People of faith believe that religious values of hope, restoration and forgiveness should extend to those who have been incarcerated in Virginia’s prisons, said Kim Bobo, executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. “We call upon the Governor to reflect prayerfully on these values.”
New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives 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. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @NewVAMajority.
Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization dedicated to challenging injustice by empowering people in local communities to address issues that affect the quality of their lives. Virginia Organizing especially encourages the participation of those who have traditionally had little or no voice in our society. By building relationships with individuals and groups throughout the state, Virginia Organizing strives to get them to work together, democratically and non-violently, for change. Visit us at our website and follow us on Twitter at @VAOrganizing.
Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocates for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACPVA.org.
The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 when U.S. women won the right to vote. We work to encourage informed and active participation in government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League is dedicated to empowering voters and defending democracy. We are proud to be nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public. For more information, visit the League of Women Voters of Virginia at lwv-va.org and on social media @lwvva and @leagueofwomenvoters.
About the ACLU of Virginia The ACLU of Virginia promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation, and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. For more information on the ACLU of Virginia go to www.acluva.org.
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy engages people of faith and goodwill in advocating economic, racial and social justice in Virginia’s policies and practices. For more information visit www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org.