virginia governor terry mcauliffe recently announced individuals with felony convictions no longer have to pay outstanding court costs before they're eligible to have their voting rights restored. mcauliffe also said they will now be able to include that information on their official police record.
"these men and women will still be required to pay their costs and fees, but their court debts will no longer serve as a financial barrier to voting, just as poll taxes did for many years in virginia," said governor mcauliffe.
historically, virginia has been one of the most oppressive states restoring voting rights to felons. their colonial polices disproportionately impact black residents: in 2010, over 20% of the voting-age black population could not vote due to felonies. civil rights history scholar helen gibson says virginia's felony disenfranchisement laws can be "traced back to 19th century attempts to undercut the voting strengths of african-americans."
mcauliffe's administration took steps to streamline the voter restoration process. those steps include reducing the waiting period before applying for people convicted of violent crimes from five years to three. and, removing drug crimes from the list of felony offenses requiring a waiting period.
in his first 17 months in office, governor mcauliffe restored voting rights to over 8,000 people - more than any previous governor in their four-year term. 71% of those people have already registered to vote. the aclu of virginia says they're working hard to place a constitutional amendment for automatic restoration on the 2018 ballot.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.