The League’s History

In 2005, the Voters Service Committee of the LWV of Lynchburg held a series of informational meetings to better understand the process by which felons could regain their civil right to register to vote. The process was neither predictable, consistent, nor transparent. Some members were concerned about the large number of citizens ineligible to register and its depression of voting, others were concerned with the unfairness of someone who had “paid their debt to society” not being allowed to participate. It became apparent that it was a state- wide problem and those changes could only be made at the direction of the Governor or by a constitutional amendment.At the 2007 LWV-VA Convention delegates voted to adopt a “Study of the Restoration of Civil Rights of Felons in Virginia as a state study. The state study committee met in Charlottesville. The core group consisted of about 8-10 members although over 20 members participated at one time or another. Fourteen local Leagues participated in the study. Thirteen versions of an informational brochure were written that could be distributed to the general public with information specific to each area where there was a local LWV. The LWV-VA Board approved the consensus statement early in 2009.

The League’s Position

The League of Women Voters of Virginia believes that:

  • The civil rights of felons in Virginia should be restored automatically either upon their release from incarceration or upon completion of probation and parole.
  • The procedure should be identical for all felons, regardless of the nature of their crime.
  • The process should be easy to understand, accessible, transparent and fair
  • Information about the process should be available to felons, the justice and correction system and the general public. (2009)

Tools of the Study

The following is a list of the study tools used in an approximate chronological order:

  • Relief from the Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction: A State-By-State Resource Guide (2006) [Read Here
  • Map of Criminal Disenfranchiseent Laws Across the United States (2007) [Read Here]
  • Background Material for the Study (2007) [Read Here]
  • Minutes of the Study Committee on Restoration of Civil Rights of Felons (5/6/07) [Read Here]
  • Report to Local League Presidents and State Board Members (5/29/07) [Read Here]
  • Questions and Answers About Restoration of Civil Rights (2007) [Read Here]
  • Voting Rights Restoration Process (2007) [Read Here]
  • Access Denied: The Impact of Virginia’s Felony Disenfranchisement Laws (2007) [Read Here]
  • Minutes of the Study Committee on Restoration of Civil Rights for Felons (8/11/07) [Read Here]
  • Virginia Code regarding Felons, Restoration of Civil Rights and the Circuit Courts (2007) [Read Here]
  • LWVVA Restorative Justice Consensus Questions and Supporting Information (2007) [Read Here]
  • Questions and Answers about Restoration of Civi Rights (2007) [Read Here]
  • Organizations Providing Information and Conducting Research on Felons Seeking Restoration of Civil Right (2007) [Read Here]
  • Points to Consider (2007) [Read Here]
  • Results of Felons’ Questionnaires (2007) [Read Here]
  • Restoration of Civil Rights of Felons in Virginia, Study Materials (2007) [Read Here]
  • Violent Offenders/Drug Offenders/Election Law Offenders Application – long form (2008) [Read Here]
  • Violent Offenders/Drug Offenders/Election Law Offenders Application – short form (2008)[Read Here]

2010-2012

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