Northam restores civil rights to greater than 69,000 Virginians

Citizen staff

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently restored the civil rights of more than 69,000 Virgins using new eligibility criteria reflecting a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that automatically restores the right to vote for individuals upon completion of their sentences.

Northam announced that in the future, every released Virginian will be entitled to restore his or her rights, even if he remains under community supervision. This change builds on a number of bipartisan reforms implemented over the past decade to restore rights, including streamlining the application and eliminating the waiting period, as well as 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 Virginia loses their civil rights, including voting rights, serving on a jury, running for office, notary public, and carrying a firearm. Virginia remains one of three states in the nation whose constitution permanently disenfranchises citizens with previous criminal convictions, but gives the governor the sole discretion to restore civil rights other than gun rights.

“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. “All Virginians deserve their voices to be heard.”

During the session of the 2021 General Assembly, the legislature approved a constitutional amendment that reaffirms the fundamental right to vote and automatically restores the civil rights of an individual upon completion of his sentence. The constitutional amendment must be passed again by the General Assembly in 2022 before a referendum can be held.

For more information on restoring rights, see

Thank you for reading!

If you like our content, please consider making a financial contribution so that we can keep our news for free.

Click here to make a contribution!

Comments are closed.