2016 April 22

Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to 200,000 Convicted Felons


Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on this day restored the voting rights to over 200,000 convicted felons. The governor’s order applies to all convicted felons who have served their prison sentences and completed their parole or probationary periods.

At the national level, it is estimated that about 5.8 million Americans have lost their right to vote because of criminal convictions. Felony disenfranchisement primarily affects African Americans. About 20 states have relaxed their disenfranchisement laws in recent years.

Virginia law gives the governor the authority to restore the right to vote to convicted felons. Today’s order could be overturned in January 2018 should a newly elected governor choose to do so. Such an action would only apply to newly convicted felons, however, A new governor could not revoke the voting rights of those whose right was restored on this day.

Learn more about felony disenfranchisement at The Sentencing Project: http://www.sentencingproject.org/issues/felony-disenfranchisement/

Learn more: Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (2015)

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