More Than 200,000 of Virginia’s Ex-Felons Will Soon Have Their Voting Rights Restored

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/downloading_tips.mhtml?code=&id=243760507&size=huge&image_format=jpg&method=download&super_url=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.shutterstock.com%2Fgatekeeper%2FW3siZSI6MTQ2MTM3MjU3MSwiYyI6Il9waG90b19zZXNzaW9uX2lkIiwiZGMiOiJpZGxfMjQzNzYwNTA3IiwiayI6InBob3RvLzI0Mzc2MDUwNy9odWdlLmpwZyIsIm0iOiIxIiwiZCI6InNodXR0ZXJzdG9jay1tZWRpYSJ9LCJlblBJMEZ1cXR4cksvUllFbTQ5LzdOVmMySmciXQ%2Fshutterstock_243760507.jpg&racksite_id=ny&chosen_subscription=1&license=standard&src=_hQzPHXo18NAEybQnqUltw-1-13">wavebreakmedia</a>/Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that more than 200,000 of the state’s former felons will soon have their voting rights restored—a move that will allow convicted felons who have completed their sentences to vote in this year’s presidential election. McAuliffe described the executive order as a step towards correcting the state’s longstanding history of disenfranchising African Americans from the voting process.

“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African Americans—we should remedy it,” McAuliffe said on Thursday.

The executive order bypassed Republicans in the state, who view former felons as potential Democratic voters. Their angry response was swift:

Nearly every state—with the exception of Maine and Vermont—has restrictions on the voting rights of felons. Virginia’s restrictions have been in place since after the Civil War, when the state’s constitution permanently barred former felons from being able to vote.

Recently, the McAuliffe administration has loosened the strict ban by allowing former felons who were convicted of non-violent crimes to be automatically eligible to have their rights restored. Today’s announcement expands the right to include those who were found guilty of committing both violent and non-violent crimes but, as the Washington Post reports, restoration will no longer be automatic. The governor will be required to review each case on an ongoing basis.

For more on the movement to restore voting rights and the impact of disenfranchisement, read our explainer here.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate