Constitutional amendment; restoration of civil rights for certain felons (first reference). (SJ273)

Introduced By

Sen. Yvonne Miller (D-Norfolk)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate


Constitutional amendment (first resolution); restoration of civil rights. Authorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences subject to the conditions, requirements, and definitions set forth in that law. The present Constitution provides for restoration of rights by the Governor. The amendment retains the right of the Governor to restore civil rights and adds the alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to law. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


09/24/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/09 097610276
09/24/2008Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
02/03/2009Reported from Privileges and Elections (12-Y 2-N) (see vote tally)
02/05/2009Read first time
02/06/2009Read second time and engrossed
02/09/2009Read third time
02/09/2009Agreed to by Senate (27-Y 13-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2009Placed on Calendar
02/11/2009Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
02/12/2009Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional
02/16/2009Subcommittee failed to recommend reporting
02/28/2009Left in Privileges and Elections

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HJ628, HJ656 and HJ726.


Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The Virginia Interfaith Center supports this bill.

robert legge writes:

The status quo is simply a vestige of Jim Crow. I might be convinced otherwise if anyone could find one person who chose not to commit a felony because they didn't want to risk losing their voting rights. I want these guys (mostly guys) back in the fold. In fact, I think it should be a condition of parole that they register to vote and vote. That's part of being a member of the community. But of course this will lose by legislators who are afraid of being soft on crime. Bunch of cowards.

Bill Twine writes:

One would think that the restoration of the offender to the community would be a goal of our commonwealth. Participating in the electoral process is one part of restoration. Restoration should be automatic after an offender has served his or her sentence and paid all court costs and fines.

A great many of our offenders have anti social tendencies. The goal of our criminal justice system, in addition to punishment, should be rehabilitation and restoration. Assimilating an ex offender into the mainstream of society is critical.

Paul Smith writes:

I have been working with prisoners and former prisoners for many years and have witnessed first hand the struggles they face during reentry. They have paid their debt to society and should have the opportunity for the full benefits of citizenship. Denying ex-offenders the right to vote is a carryover from a time long passed when certain groups in our society were treated as second class citizens. Virginia only grudgingly gave African-Americans the right to vote and the right to a quality education. It is time for Virginia to enter the 21st century like the rest of America. Our Constitution belongs to ALL the people, not just the select few.

Traci writes:

By giving an ex-offender the chance to prove themselves able to reenter society and to give back in a productive manner could give many hope and pride they may not other wise have.

Please do consider passing this bill Del. Ware. It is a worth while bill. The more vested a person is in his or her community, the more likely they will be willing to take care of it and the people in it.

Thank you.

Nonprofit NoVA, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:


Patty Rapp writes:

Now is the time for a constitutional amendment to reform the process for restoring the right to vote to convicted felons who have completed their sentences and paid their debt to society. Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance! What purpose does it serve to withhold the right to vote for life? If we want to rehabilitate people, we need to give them the tools to participate in society and become active members of the community. Restoring voting rights to nonviolent felons should not be so difficult as it currently is. HB 628 is a good bill and should be supported by our elected delegates.

Cullins writes:

I watched the game the republicans played in committee....this is Jim Crow at its finest...awful, all those folks who came to speak and Del Cole would not even give them the courtesy..awful

Minister Hasan K. Zarif,GCDF,VWDF writes:

Virginia it is time for a constitutional amendment
to reform the process for restoring the right to
vote for convicted felons who have completed their
sentencees and paid their debt to society. We say
we want men and women to change and be productive
citizens. Then we must be the instrument that help
them to become whole. My rights were restored and
instead of me feeling like less then a citizen I now feel and work as a fully restored citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I honor,respect, and
protect what has been given back to me. God Bless The Honorable Governor & Honorable Legislators of Commwealth of Virginia.