Conyers Commends VA Governor McAuliffe on Restoration of Ex-Offender Voting Rights
Washington, D.C. – Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that he used his executive authority to restore the voting rights of more than 200,000 ex-offenders. As a result, ex-offenders in Virginia who are not in prison, on probation or parole will be permitted to register and vote in the upcoming presidential election. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), commended his actions with the following statement:
Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers, Jr.
“The actions of Governor McAuliffe are a welcome example of the importance of expanding voting rights at a time when many throughout the nation are experiencing an increase in barriers to the ballot box. Denying voting rights to ex-offenders robs them of the opportunity to fully participate and contribute to their society. This gesture of faith to the ex-offender community can serve as an inspiration to both their families and wider communities about the necessity of speaking to the government through the ballot.”
Conyers observed that, “The challenge we face today is not ballot integrity, but the need to expand opportunities around the franchise, so that voting is fairly and equally open to all Americans. Far too many have been denied the right to vote, even long years after paying their debt to society. Disenfranchisement laws isolate and alienate ex-offenders, and have been shown to serve as one more obstacle in their attempt to successfully reintegrate into society. I hope that the example of Virginia starts a trend for the remaining states in the nation that still have barriers to ex-offender voting.”
Ranking Member Conyers is a long-standing champion of the Democracy Restoration Act of 2015 (H.R. 1459), which was re-introduced this Congress. This legislation would create uniform federal standards for returning the voting rights of ex-offenders to vote in federal elections.