AUTOMATIC RESTORATION FOR NON-VIOLENT CONVICTIONS
PLEASE CALL 1-855-LET-VOTE OR VISIT A FREE CLINIC FOR ASSISTANCE
A History Making Step
On May 29th, Governor McDonnell took a major step in the right direction when he announced plans to automatically restore voting rights to Virginia citizens with nonviolent felony convictions.
What does this do?
The new automatic rights restoration process 1) eliminates the two-year waiting period and 2) removes the application process for people with who:
- Have been convicted of a non-violent felony in a Virginia court, or been convicted in a U.S. District Court, military court or a court of another state or territory;
- Have completed their felony sentences, including serving the prison sentence and been released from probation or parole;
- Have satisfied all of their court-ordered conditions, including paid all court fines, fees, and restitution;
- Have no pending felony charges.
The new policy takes the burden off people with non-violent felony convictions to have their rights restored.
Who does it affect?
The Governor has his own list of what he considers a “non-violent” conviction and “violent” conviction. Please check the list here. A conviction is not classified according to the specific circumstances of your case.
When will it start?
The new automatic restoration policy for people with non-violent convictions will take effect on July 15, 2013.
Do I have to do anything if I think that I’m eligible?
YES. You still must register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth to get your rights restored.
You may call Advancement Project’s hotline, 1-855-LET-VOTE, which will securely and confidentially register you with the Secretary of the Commonwealth or you may call the Secretary of the Commonwealth directly at (804) 786-2441.
Every person who calls 1-855-LET-VOTE will have their cases screened by an attorney who provide assistance even you are not eligible for automatic restoration.
Even though the policy begins on July 15, 2013, the Secretary of the Commonwealth no longer is making non-violent applications available.
How long will it take?
It is uncertain. The Secretary of the Commonwealth is prioritizing pending applications, so new registrants will be processed after those are done. We hope, however, it will not take more than 2 months, which was the deadline for the old application process.
Please contact Advancement Project if you are concerned about the status of your registration.
Why is this process considered automatic?
It is considered automatic because the Governor can no longer reject you if you meet the basic criteria. There is no comprehensive database of people with felony convictions who are no longer under correctional supervision, so you still have to register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
However, people under correctional supervision up until July 15 most likely will not have to register—their rights will be restored and a notification will be sent.
How many people will this impact?
We believe that tens of thousands or more people will be eligible. State officials predict at least 100,000.