Blog & Op-Eds, Blog, Voting Rights

Governor McAuliffe – It’s Past Time to End Virginia’s Felon Disenfranchisement!

(02/17/2014) This past week the nation’s top attorney, Eric Holder, spoke eloquently about the debilitating harms caused by felon disenfranchisement laws. Attorney General Holder called such laws “unnecessary and unjust” and based on "centuries-old conceptions of justice that were too often based on exclusion, animus, and fear." We agree! read more »

Response to Our Call on Statewide Candidates to Commit to the Restoration of Rights

(10/31/2013) On September 26, 2013 the ACLU of Virginia and a coalition of civil rights organizations submitted letters to the candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General of Virginia asking that they commit to ending the Jim Crow era disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of people in Virginia. read more »

ACLU of Virginia Defends Libertarian Party’s Right to Petition

(10/18/2013) Last spring, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Virginia law imposing a state residency requirement on persons who petition for third-party presidential candidates to appear on the general election ballot. Unfortunately, while every federal court of appeals to look at this issue in the last decade has agreed with the Fourth Circuit that this kind of statute is unconstitutional, the State Board of Elections decided to waste the Commonwealth’s limited resources by appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. So, yesterday we asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the State Board of Elections request for review. read more »

Virginia’s Criminal Justice System – The Case for Reform, Part IV: Restore Voting Rights

(09/26/2013) What is your first thought when you hear that hundreds of thousands of Virginians, including a disproportionate number of African Americans, have been stripped of their fundamental right to vote. Jim Crow era Virginia? Unfortunately, no – it is 2013 Virginia. read more »

When Will Virginia’s Efforts to Suppress Minority Voting Rights End?

(2/27/2013) In a perfect world, the re-election of the first black president would signify a firm end to Virginia’s unfortunate, racism-laden past, particularly since President Barack Obama carried the state. Yet, this is not a perfect world and while we’ve moved on down the path, the fight for racial justice is not at an end. For during every session, the General Assembly introduces bills that threaten to slow down the momentum Virginia has gained in recent years towards racial equality. read more »

General Assembly 2013: Cross Over Report

(2/7/2013) The 2013 General Assembly session is well underway and important things are happening at the Capitol even if Virginia is not the butt of jokes nightly on the Colbert Report and the Daily Show. Cross over was on February 5, and while some bills -- good and bad-- were killed, others survived. We need all our supporters' help to kill the remaining bad bills that are a threat to civil liberties and to pass the good ones that advance our freedoms. read more »

2013 General Assembly – Pre-Session Report

(12/3/2012) The 2013 General Assembly Session will be a “short session” of 45 days beginning on Wednesday, January 9 and adjourning on February 23. Following are summaries of some key issues we expect will be under active consideration by the legislature in 2013 and in which we have a particular interest... read more »

Election Day 2012: Lessons Learned

(11/14/2012) It was a great show of democracy in action as people waited in long lines to exercise their right to vote. But should performing one’s civic duty and casting a ballot take up to five hours, as it did in Chesapeake? read more »

Supreme Court Could Make Protecting Voting Rights More Difficult

(10/4/2012) Among the many issues affecting civil liberties that the U.S. Supreme Court will consider this term, one of the most important is likely to be a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. However the Court rules, it will have profound implications for Virginia and other states with a history of discrimination against minorities in the administration of elections. read more »

No Coincidence?

(09/28/2012) Because of the state’s new voter ID law, Governor Bob McDonnell issued Executive Order No. 45 requiring the State Board of Elections (SBE) to issue new voter registration cards to Virginia voters to ensure all voters had a free, acceptable form of identification to use at the polls. In that same executive order, the Governor also directed SBE to launch a public education campaign to inform voters about the changes to the state’s voter ID requirements. Both the process for issuing the new registration cards and the public education program are flawed, however. read more »

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