Virginia Governor Takes Important Step to Restore Voting Rights

May 29, 2013

Today, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced his plan to restore voting rights to those with nonviolent criminal convictions in their past. The Brennan Center for Justice released the following statement from Democracy Program Deputy Director Myrna PĂ©rez:

“We applaud Governor McDonnell for taking this critical step to restore voting rights to so many Virginia citizens with criminal convictions in their past. This move brings Virginia one step closer to the mainstream. It was one of only four states to permanently disenfranchise all individuals with past criminal convictions unless they are granted clemency. Allowing Americans with past criminal convictions to have a voice in their community will reap great benefits in terms of public safety and a more robust democracy. We urge Virginia to go further and automatically restore rights to all citizens with past criminal convictions who are living and working in the community.”

Previously, nonviolent offenders needed to wait two years before applying to have their voting rights restored. McDonnell’s plan removes the waiting period and application requirement. See more of the Brennan Center’s work on restoring voting rights to persons with past criminal convictions.

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Erik Opsal at or 646-292-8356.