Virginia NAACP Releases Public Records Revealing Arbitrary Process for Restoring Voting Rights, Demands Youngkin Establish Clear Standards and Expedite Process

Read a PDF of our statement here

The NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) will hold a press conference at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, July 18th, at The Bell Tower, Capitol Square 1000 Bank St, Richmond, VA, to share information regarding Governor Glenn Youngkin’s new, arbitrary process for restoring voting rights to Virginia citizens with past felony convictions. During the conference, the Virginia NAACP will call upon the Governor to establish clear and publicly available criteria for his rights restoration decisions, communicate effectively with applicants about the process, and ensure that all applications are processed fairly and promptly.

The Virginia NAACP bases these concrete policy demands on what it has learned from documents produced in response to public records requests it submitted on May 9, 2023, represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Office of the General Counsel of the NAACP, and the law firm Hogan Lovells US LLP.

These documents reveal a lack of clear standards and timelines for the current rights restoration process, which creates an opaque and confusing system rife with opportunity for discriminatory impact on Black Virginians and other Virginians of color. Additionally, the process is operating at an increasingly slow pace which threatens to block thousands of applicants from participating in upcoming elections.

“Against the backdrop of the Commonwealth’s deplorable history of state officials using the power of their offices to prevent Black Virginians from voting, the Virginia NAACP is concerned that the Governor’s new process restores voting rights to some and not others without justification or explanation,” said Virginia NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. “And there is certainly no justification for such a dramatic slowdown in voting rights restoration as we have seen this year from the Youngkin administration.”

“The Governor has chosen to implement an arbitrary and secretive rights restoration process that threatens to disenfranchise thousands of returning Virginia citizens, in particular Black Virginians and other Virginians of color,” said Ryan Snow, Counsel with the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This regressive approach undermines our democracy and is a stain on the Commonwealth.”

Members of the press interested in attending and covering the press conference should RSVP using this form.

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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

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