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December 18, 2014

Vows to Continue to Fight for Elimination of Felon Disenfranchisement Law

Richmond, VA - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia today praised the McAuliffe administration’s commitment to restoring the rights of all disenfranchised Virginians and the establishment of a much easier application process for individuals convicted of more serious felonies.

“We celebrate the Governor’s announcement that more than 5,000 Virginians have had their right to vote restored in 2014, and are encouraged by the new much less burdensome application process for individuals who have been convicted of more serious offenses,” said ACLU of Virginia Staff Attorney and Legislative Counsel Hope Amezquita.

The new process for individuals convicted of more serious offenses has been reduced from a thirteen page application to a one page application. It removes a number of requirements, including the requirement of a letter to the governor and three letters of recommendation as part of the application.

“While these are positive steps to ensuring that the voting rights of all Virginians are restored, they are only small measures of progress when considering that more than 350,000 individuals who have completed their sentences are still unable to vote because of the Commonwealth’s felon disenfranchisement law,” continued Amezquita.

The ACLU of Virginia has been a constant champion in the fight for restoration of rights and strongly supports all positive efforts to ensure that no Virginian is ever denied the right to vote because of Jim Crow era policies like the felon disenfranchisement law.