Fact Sheets
Featured Video
  • National Press Club Forum: A 25-Year Vision for Criminal Justice Reform
  • Unlocking Justice: Alternatives to Prison
State Contacts
January 22, 2013 (Augusta Free Press)

ACLU urges McDonnell to act on restoration of voting rights

The ACLU of Virginia on Monday sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell urging him to issue an executive order restoring the voting rights of Virginians with felony convictions. The civil liberties group has recently praised the Governor for showing support for legislation that would automatically restore civil rights for nonviolent offenders, and becoming an advocate for rights restoration reform.

“Governor McDonnell has the authority, through executive order, to restore the voting rights to all, or some, of the more than 450,000 individuals who are currently barred from exercising their right to vote in Virginia due to a felony conviction,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire G. Gastañaga. “We urge him to take such action to quickly provide offenders the opportunity to participate again in our democracy.”

According to The Sentencing Project, over 450,000 individuals – about 7.3% of the population – are barred from exercising their right to vote in Virginia due to a felony conviction. The vast majority of disenfranchised persons in Virginia and the U.S. are no longer incarcerated and are tax-paying citizens with jobs and families who are involved in their communities. At least two-thirds have fully completed their sentences, including probation and parole.

Issue Area(s): Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement