Constitutional amendment; qualifications to vote, restoration of civil rights. (HJ522)

Introduced By

Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patron Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate


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


Bill Has Failed


12/16/2014Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15101072D
12/16/2014Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/13/2015Assigned P & E sub: Constitutional Amendments
02/10/2015Left in Privileges and Elections


J P Welch writes:

Only in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, and Virginia, do felons and ex-felons permanently lose their right to vote, without a pardon from the governor. This amendment is like most recent legislation in other states that seeks to expand felon voting rights and ease the process of restoration. In 38 states and the District of Columbia, most ex-felons automatically gain the right to vote upon the completion of their sentence. When a felon has completed his sentence, his right to vote should be restored, regardless of how the Commonwealth classifies the offense.

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

The ACLU of Virginia strongly supports legislation to amend the Virginia Constitution to repeal the Commonwealth’s felon disenfranchisement provision. The ACLU strongly supports automatically restoring the rights of all persons convicted of felonies without being conditioned on payment of fines, fees, and restitution. Supporting proposals without conditions does not absolve individuals convicted of felonies from their duties to pay the court or victims. A vast majority of disenfranchised citizens in Virginia are not incarcerated and are tax-paying citizens with jobs and families who are involved in their communities. For the purposes of voting, financial obligations should not prohibit citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. Virginia, one of the worst states in the nation for felon disenfranchisement, has an estimated 450,000, or nearly 7.3 percent, citizens who have permanently lost their constitutional right to vote.