Target: Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe
Goal: Applaud Governor for improving Virginia’s harsh disenfranchisement laws
In recent years, millions of Americans convicted of non-violent drug offenses have lost the right to vote due to unfair disenfranchisement laws. Many states impose lifelong voting bans on convicted felons. Americans should not be prevented from participating in the democratic process if they have served their time. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe needs to be applauded for his recent decision to improve his state’s draconian disenfranchisement laws.
Traditionally, Virginia classified non-violent drug offenses as violent felonies. According to the state’s laws, violent felons had to wait five years after their prison sentences ended before they could petition the governor to regain their voting rights. Even then the governor could deny their petitions and keep them disenfranchised. Thankfully, Governor McAuliffe recently proclaimed that Virginia will stop classifying drug offenses as violent felonies, meaning individuals now convicted of non-violent drug offenses will regain their voting rights as soon as their prison sentences end.
In addition to immediately regaining the right to vote, these individuals will also regain the right to hold public office as well as the right to serve on a jury or as a public notary. Furthermore, Virginians convicted of violent felonies that are not drug related will now have to wait only three years after their prison sentences end before they can petition the governor to regain their rights.
Sign the petition below to let Governor McAuliffe know that you appreciate the changes he has made to Virginia’s harsh disenfranchisement laws.
Dear Governor McAuliffe,
I was heartened to hear of your recent decision to ameliorate Virginia’s overly harsh disenfranchisement laws. Traditionally, Virginia classified people convicted of non-violent drug offenses as violent felons, meaning those individuals lost many basic rights, including the right to vote, and could not apply to regain these rights until five years after their sentences had ended. Americans should not be prevented from participating in the democratic process if they have served their time.
Thank you for changing how things work in Virginia. Thanks to you, Virginians convicted of non-violent drug offenses will no longer be classified as violent felons, and they will immediately regain the right to vote as soon as their prison sentences end.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rama via Wikimedia Commons