Skip to main content

News / Announcements

Voting and Elections Issue Group - notes from April 14, 2023

L. Rice and K. Siracusa | Published on 4/18/2023

Voting and Elections Issue Group – notes from April 14, 2023 Online Meeting

Submitted by: Linda Rice

  1. LWV-VA expressed concern about the recent resignations of the Buckingham County, VA voter registrar and her entire staff. Follow link for Voting officials’ resignation, amid outlandish accusations, an ominous sign for democracy at [COMMENTARY PIECE, Virginia Mercury, April 13, 2023]
    As a result of this and other voter registrars’ continuing concerns, including that of local registrars, the Voting and Elections Issue Group wants to prepare new legislation to protect the job security and physical security of voter registrars throughout Virginia. Denise Harrington, LWV-VA Action and Advocacy Coordinator, will provide more info about this effort. A bill to secure more protections for registrars failed in the 2023 Virginia’s General Assembly.

  2. Right to Vote League Study – this will be a new Virginia League study to look at the various challenges to voting rights. Virginia is one of only three states in the nation that permanently disenfranchise all people with felony convictions, unless the governor approves an individual’s petition for rights restoration. Governor Youngkin changed the policy of former Governor Northam which allowed almost automatic restoration of rights for individuals with felony convictions when released from the prison system. Now, everyone with a felony conviction who is released from prison must petition for Restoration of Rights (ROR) and await a decision. Unfortunately, as most formerly incarcerated are concerned about finding a job and shelter, they often discard the application. Also, there is not a process to notify the state of a former prisoner’s address change. ROR includes the right to vote, right to serve on a jury, right to become a notary public, and right to run for public office.

  3. Deb Wake, LWV-VA president, attended a meeting along with other organizations with the Secretary of Commonwealth on 14 April. Criteria for allowing submission of a ROR form are not transparent. There are some questions about whether all fines and probation must be complete before rights are restored. Note about 12,000 people are released annually from prisons in Virginia. As of April 14, 2023, the Secretary of the Commonwealth noted there were 1,045 ROR applications in the ‘receive’ status. Meaning, applications awaiting research that will help determine if the applicants are wanted for any crimes or have cases pending.

  4. Want to help on this core issue of the League? Signup for the Voter Rights/Voter Access issue group on LWV-VA site HERE
Follow Us

Serving Williamsburg, James City County, York County

LWV of Williamsburg Area

P O Box 1086

Williamsburg, VA 23187-1086
[501(c)(4) organization]