Gov. Northam restores civil rights for greater than 69,000 Virginians

RICHMOND, Va. – Nearly 70,000 former inmates in Virginia have restored their civil rights, including the right to vote.

Governor Ralph Northam made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

In the future, any released Virginian can restore his or her rights while still under community supervision. According to the governor’s office, this builds on reforms made over the past decade, including streamlining the application, eliminating the waiting period, and removing the requirement that court costs and fees be paid before rights are restored.

“Too many of our laws were written at a time of overt racism and discrimination and still bear the mark of inequality,” said Governor Northam. “We are a Commonwealth that believes in moving forward and not being bound by the mistakes of our past. If we want people to return to our communities and participate in society, we must fully welcome them again – and this policy does just that. “


Under current law, anyone convicted of a crime in the Commonwealth loses the right to vote, sits on a jury, runs for office, becomes a notary and carries a firearm.

“Restoring the rights of the Virginians who served their time makes it easier for these men and women to get on with their lives,” said Commonwealth Secretary Kelly Thomasson. “I am proud of Governor Northam’s initiative to welcome these people back into society. All Virginians deserve their voices heard, and these changes show the Northam administration’s continued commitment to second chances, rehabilitation, and restorative justice. “

According to the governor, that decision was made based on eligibility criteria reflecting a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution.

Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.