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| Strengthening Voting Rights and Democracy

New Virginia Majority, Center For Popular Democracy Applaud Virginia For Restoring Right To Vote

Executive order will return voting rights to hundreds of thousands of Virginians who have served their felony sentence

04.22.2016


NEW YORK – New Virginia Majority and the Center for Popular Democracy applauded Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for restoring the right to vote for more than 200,000 Virginians across the state who have served their sentence for a felony conviction. The executive action closely follows a vote in neighboring Maryland to restore voting rights for 40,000 Marylanders on probation and parole.


Tram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director of The New Virginia Majority, released the following statement:


“It is a historic day for democracy in Virginia – and across our nation. The disenfranchisement of people who have served their sentences was an outdated, discriminatory vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past. Virginians rejoining their communities will now regain their voice in our democracy without facing roadblocks to the ballot. Today’s news is welcome progress for grassroots advocates who have worked alongside these Virginians for years to advocate for their full inclusion in our democracy. We have drawn motivation from their countless stories and enduring commitment to fulfill their civic duties and participate in the political process – even when the system has so often let them down. We celebrate today knowing the countless benefits of restoring their right to vote – including reduced recidivism rates and the fulfillment of our democratic values. Our democracy is stronger today.”


Emma Greenman, Director of Voting Rights and Democracy at Center for Popular Democracy, released the following statement: “With this step, Governor McAuliffe has made it clear that Virginia citizens who have served their sentences are welcomed as full members of our democracy. It will put Virginia on the path to a more inclusive, more representative democracy and we are proud of the work our state partner New Virginia Majority and the Advancement Project did to make this important policy a reality. What happened in Virginia today is a solid sign that democracy is on the march. Earlier this spring Maryland restored the right to vote for men and women on probation or parole and now in Virginia hundreds of thousands more people who are living, working and raising their families in communities across the state will be able to participate in our democracy. These are two solid steps in a long fight to bring the voices of the most marginalized into our democratic system and we will be working to ensure that states across the country follow the lead of Virginia and Maryland.”


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www.newvirginiamajority.org


New Virginia Majority is the catalytic force for the progressive transformation of Virginia through mass organizing, leadership development, and strategic communications.


www.populardemocracy.org


The Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda.


 


Contact:


Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-2442


Anita Jain, ajain@populardemocracy.org, 347-636-9761