Constitutional amendment; restoration of civil rights to persons convicted of nonviolent felonies. (HJ547)

Introduced By

Del. Peter Farrell (R-Henrico) with support from co-patron Del. Joe Morrissey (I-Highland Springs)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Constitutional amendment (first resolution); qualifications to vote; restoration of civil rights. Directs 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 an alternative for restoration of rights pursuant to law for nonviolent felons. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


  • 11/12/2012 Committee
  • 11/12/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100752D
  • 11/12/2012 Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
  • 01/11/2013 Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee
  • 01/14/2013 Subcommittee recommends incorporating (HJ535-Herring)
  • 02/05/2013 Left in Privileges and Elections


ACLU-VA Voting Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports passage of a constitutional amendment that would permit enactment of general laws restoring the right to vote to persons convicted of felonies.

Rebecca Gotwalt writes:

So someone who was put away for fraud anyway is let back into our political system? I don't think so. Either you can control yourself, act inside of generally accepted social norm and get to exercise all your rights as a citizen or you can scam, swindle, cheat and lie and be thoroughly punished as the you criminal are.
Examples of felonies that exist under these auspices:
Breaking and Entering
Welfare Fraud
Identity Theft
Bank Fraud
Malicious/Unlawful Wounding
Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle or Building
Arson of an Occupied Vehicle or Building
Election Fraud
Production, publication, sale, financing, etc., of child pornography
and that is just a small sampling not including counts of rape and sodomy that fall under this umbrella.
There may be some one off, never to occur again act of negligence that deserves a second look from the justice system once sentences have successfully been served but this broad stroke forgiveness of felons and reinstatement of voter rights, is not appropriate.