Posted by 11 January 2019
Virginia is just three states permanently bar felons from voting. Thanks to a recent vote in a legislative committee, it won’t be restoring felons’ voting rights any time soon.
On Wednesday, a Senate committee voted down a proposed change to the state constitution that would have removed the ban on felon voting. Currently, the Virginia constitution bars felons from being able to vote unless their rights have been restored by the governor.
This issue has been an area of contention for Virginia in recent years. The state’s former governor, Terry McAuliffe, attempted to use an executive order to restore the rights of felons who had completed their sentences. That effort was stymied by the legislature and the state’s Supreme Court. He then undertook efforts to restore these voting rights on an expedited case-by-case basis.
Critics of the ban on felons voting note that nearly every other state allows some form of voting rights for felons. Some states even allow those in jail to vote. They say that this van is an impediment to rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. Supporters of the ban note that it is proper to punish those who commit serious crimes by imposing serious penalties.
In the 2018 election, Florida voters overturned their state’s ban on felon voting. Beginning this month, felons in that state have begun to register to vote.
Do you think that felons who have completed their sentences should see their voting rights restored?