For Immediate Release
Virginia Expands Access to Democracy by Restoring Voting Rights to Returning Citizens
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Tuesday used executive action to restore voting rights and other civil rights to formerly incarcerated people when they finish their prison terms. Gov. Northam’s actions will apply to more than 69,000 formerly incarcerated Virginians. The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
“This action not only does the right thing in restoring the right to vote to individuals who have completed their sentences but it also helps to remove an unfair burden on communities of color who have been disproportionately and unjustly impacted by the criminal system and the collateral consequences of mass incarceration. The practice of disenfranchisement is a relic of Jim Crow, and the continued practice serves no legitimate democratic purpose. We applaud yesterday’s move by Governor Northam and the advocates who helped to make this step happen."
The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.