Civil rights organizations are applauding Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order on Friday restoring voting rights to roughly 200,000 Virginians by eliminating what they call a “vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past.”
Using his authority allowed by the state’s constitution, the governor’s Restoration of Rights order allows convicted felons who’ve served their time and finished any required supervised release, parole or probation, to be able to vote, as well as be able to run for office, serve on a jury, or be a notary public.
“It is a historic day for democracy in Virginia—and across our nation,” said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of the New Virginia Majority.
The bright spot comes amidst what Brennan Center for Justice’s Marissa Marzano called “the biggest voting rights rollback since the Jim Crow era.”
The Democratic governor said in a statement, “Too often in both our distant and recent history, politicians have used their authority to restrict peoples’ ability to participate in our democracy. Today we are reversing that disturbing trend and restoring the rights of more than 200,000 of our fellow Virginians who work, raise families, and pay taxes in every corner of our Commonwealth.”
“I believe it is time to cast off Virginia’s troubling history of injustice and embrace an honest, clean process for restoring the rights of these men and women,” McAuliffe continued.
Also among those praising the order is the ACLU of Virginia, who said it “matched our hopes and exceeded our expectations.”
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