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.