Virginia NAACP Releases Proposed Platform on Gubernatorial Restoration of Voting Rights

Today, the NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) held a press conference to address Governor Glenn Youngkin’s new, arbitrary process for restoring voting rights to Virginia citizens with past felony convictions. The Virginia NAACP sent the Governor a proposed platform on the gubernatorial restoration of voting rights. In this proposal, the Virginia NAACP calls upon the Governor to:

  • Adopt clear and publicly stated criteria for restoring voting rights, and, critically, state clearly and publicly the reasons why an application for the restoration of voting rights may be denied;
  • Make clear that the Governor is NOT considering race, geography, or voting history in making restoration decisions, and detail the steps the Governor is taking to ENSURE that his process for the restoration of voting rights does not have a discriminatory impact on Black Virginians and other Virginians of color;
  • Clearly communicate all aspects of the process to applicants seeking to have their voting rights restored, including the criteria used in determining whether their rights will be restored, the timeline on which their applications will be considered and when a decision will be made, any and all steps the applicant must take to ensure their application is complete, and any steps the applicant may take to further aid in consideration of their application and receive a favorable decision;
  • Commit to fair and prompt review of all applications for the restoration of voting rights; and
  • Commit to regular public disclosures regarding the number of applications received, decided and denied.

“We stand with Virginia’s returning citizens. We firmly believe that all our citizens should have a say in what happens in their community and a voice in our government, and we believe the vast majority of Virginians agree with us,” said Virginia NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. “If this is to be true—if Virginia’s democracy is to live up to its promises and leave its racist history behind—the process for the restoration of voting rights must have clear standards, those standards must be clearly communicated to the public and to rights restoration applicants themselves, and all applications must be considered fairly and promptly.”

“Virginia’s felony disenfranchisement provision was enacted in 1902 with the explicitly stated intent to maintain white supremacy in the Commonwealth by disenfranchising Black Virginians,” said Ryan Snow, Counsel with the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Governor Youngkin has chosen to revert to a process that resurrects that provision and applies it in a way that threatens to disproportionately disenfranchise Black Virginians and other Virginians of color. The past three governors each found a way to restore the rights of returning citizens that rejected the racist history of felony disenfranchisement while complying with the Constitution, and Governor Youngkin must now do the same.”

To access the documents from the FOIA on Restoration of Rights

To access the Proposed Platform for Gubernatorial Restoration Rights Process

Read a pdf of our statement here

– ### –

Chartered in 1935, the NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth. The Virginia NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for civil rights due to Black Virginians. Representing over 100 NAACP adult branches, youth councils, and college chapters, together, we fight to build the social and political power required to abolish racial discrimination in localities throughout Virginia. To learn more about the work of the Virginia NAACP and the issues we advocate for, visit

Share this post

Scroll to Top