RICHMOND, Va. (WVVA) - Governor Ralph Northam took executive action to restore voting rights to 69,000 former felons on Tuesday.
Gov. Northam announced that going forward, anyone who completes their sentence will be able to have voting rights, even if they stay under supervision.
"Too many of our laws were written during a time of open racism and discrimination, and they still bear the traces of inequity," said Governor Northam. "We are a Commonwealth that believes in moving forward, not being tied down by the mistakes of our past. If we want people to return to our communities and participate in society, we must welcome them back fully—and this policy does just that."
Virginia is one of three states whose current law revokes rights from citizens with felony convictions. Any restoration of rights in Virginia is at the Governors discretion, including firearm rights.
Legislators approved a constitutional amendment that restores these rights during the 2021 General Assembly session.
To stand as an amendment, it will have to pass the 2022 General Assembly session before going to a voter referendum.
This executive action by Gov. Northam means that he has restored rights for over 100,000 Virginians.