Tonight, the Virginia Supreme Court issued a stunning blow to the progress Governor Terry McAuliffe has made on voting rights by ruling that his latest restoration of rights order for all returning citizens who have completed their sentence is unconstitutional.
We will not accept this defeat. Virginia Organizing is committed to fighting until every citizen in Virginia is able to exercise his or her right to vote and every remnant of the Jim Crow Era laws designed to prevent people of color from voting are torn down.
Tonight, Virginia Organizing State Governing Board member and returning citizen Duane Edwards issued the following statement to the media, and we wanted you to hear what he had to say about this heartbreaking decision:
“As a returning citizen, I know firsthand what it means when you can’t vote because of your past. While Virginia Organizing is confident that Governor Terry McAuliffe will find a way to restore the rights to those citizens who have served their time and are ready to participate in our civic processes, we are appalled by those politicians like Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell who have consistently put political ideology over the people of Virginia. It is unfair for returning citizens to hear that we deserve a second chance from politicians while they actively work against that second chance. Today goes down in history as another victory for Jim Crow and voter suppression, but we will continue to fight to overcome.”
Governor McAuliffe stated tonight, “I will expeditiously sign nearly 13,000 individual orders to restore the fundamental rights of the citizens who have had their rights restored and registered to vote. And I will continue to sign orders until I have completed restoration for all 200,000 Virginians.”
Thank you for standing with us and for all those who are directly affected by these decisions. We will keep you updated with next steps as soon as possible.
P.S. If you are looking for a way to help, will you donate $25, $50, or $100 today to support organizing and help us fight against regressive policies that threaten our democracy?