Urge Gov. McDonnell Not to Add Hurdles to Voting Rights Restoration!
Virginia is one of only two states –Kentucky is the other – that permanently disfranchises people with a felony conviction, requiring an act of the governor to restore their voting rights. This policy currently leaves 300,000 Virginians without the right to vote. Originally created as a way to keep African Americans from voting, this vestige of the Jim Crow era continues to disproportionately impact African Americans—200,000 African Americans in the state cannot vote.
Because only the governor has the power to restore an ex-felon's voting rights, the process can vary between administrations. After taking office Governor McDonnell added another hurdle, something akin to a literacy test, to an already difficult process. In addition to a one-page form, applicants must now write a personal letter to the governor explaining the circumstances of their crime, efforts they have made to rehabilitate themselves (including education, community work, and church attendance), and the reasons why they believe restoration of their voting rights is justified.
Please contact Gov. McDonnell and tell him to rescind the requirement for a personal letter that he has begun imposing on nonviolent offenders who have already submitted applications to have their voting rights restored. Also, please urge him not to make this requirement permanent.
Virginia Residents: Fill in your zip code below to send the Governor an email.
Non-Virginia Residents: Call the Governor's office at (804) 786-2211.