Restoration of Rights

Restauración de Derechos (en español)

On April 22, 2016, Governor McAuliffe restored the rights of all Virginians with a prior felony conviction who have completed the terms of incarceration and have been released from supervised probation or parole.

Below you will find the summary of the Governor’s Restoration of Rights Order, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and a copy of the Governor’s Order.

Demographics of Restored Individuals

Order for the Restoration of Rights

Governor McAuliffe’s April 22 order restores the rights to all individuals who, as of April 22, 2016, have completed the terms of incarceration and have completed any period of supervised release (probation or parole) for any and all felony convictions. 

Going forward, the Governor will issue monthly orders restoring rights to persons who have completed the terms of their incarceration and any periods of supervised release since April 22, 2016. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Individuals' civil rights are restored– the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, and become a notary public.
Anyone who has been convicted of a felony and has completed the terms of incarceration for any and all felony convictions and been released from supervised probation or parole.
Approximately 206,000 individuals had their rights restored as a result of the Governor's order.
No. The April 22nd order does not create automatic rights restoration. The order only restores the rights of individuals who are eligible as of April 22nd. Going forward, the Governor will continue to review eligibility and restore rights on an ongoing basis. Individuals can always check their status on the Secretary of Commonwealth's website: www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/ror
No, the order applies to all Virginians who have been convicted of any felony and have completed the terms of their sentence and been released from supervised probation or parole.
Individuals can check their status on the Secretary of Commonwealth's website: www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/ror
Individual grant orders will no longer be issued. However, grant orders are available upon request.
The April 22nd order is proof that your rights have been restored. Individuals can also check their status on the Secretary of Commonwealth's website: www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/ror. Individual grant orders are available upon request.
No, the Governor's order does not remove any convictions from an individual's criminal record.  Nor does it excuse an individual from any court fees, fines or restitution owed.  It has no bearing on any other conditions that may have been ordered by the court.  The order solely restores an individual's civil rights.
Approximately 206,000 individuals had their rights restored as a result of the Governor's order.
Your rights have been restored by the Governor, though this action may not be applicable in all states. Please check the requirements for voting registration in the state where you currently reside.
The Governor's proclamation only restores civil rights (the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, and become a notary public.).  Pursuant to §18.2-308.2 C, individuals may petition the Circuit court in the jurisdiction where they reside for a permit to possess, ship, or transport a firearm.
Your civil rights have been restored. Noncitizens are not eligible to vote, serve on a jury or run for office, but may be eligible to serve as a notary public.
All individuals must register to vote before voting in any election. You may register to vote at www.elections.virginia.gov.
No. The proclamation only restores an individual's civil rights, and does not impact any barrier crime laws in the Virginia code

 

Have my rights been restored?


You can click here to see if your civil rights have been restored by the Governor.

Restored Rights

Ready to vote?

If you have had your rights restored, please visit http://elections.virginia.gov/ to register to vote.

You can also find information about the upcoming election, including what’s on your ballot. 

Editorial Boards Continue to Support Governor McAuliffe’s Restoration of Rights Order

Editorial pages from across the country continue to voice support for Governor McAuliffe’s historic action to restore voting and civil rights to more than 200,000 Virginians who have paid their time. As the pieces linked below note, Governor McAuliffe’s action is within his constitutional authority and represents a positive step away from Virginia’s dark history of disenfranchisement.

New York Times
A Second Chance and the Right to Vote:

Mr. McAuliffe took a bolder and more just step last month by restoring those rights to all people with felony convictions. Republican lawmakers say this action “overstepped the bounds of his authority and the constitutional limits on executive powers.”

They fail to point to any provision in the state’s Constitution or laws to support this claim, because there isn’t one. Virginia’s Constitution explicitly empowers the governor “to remove political disabilities consequent upon conviction” for felonies. It places no qualifications or limitations on that power.

Washington Post
Restoring Virginians’ voting rights:

The ban on voting by felons has disenfranchised nearly a quarter-million African Americans in Virginia, about a fifth of the total. Mr. McAuliffe’s office has issued extensive citations from the constitution, under which a felon is banned from voting “unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor” and further empowers the governor to “remove political disabilities consequent upon conviction.”

That looks like sufficient constitutional basis for Mr. McAuliffe’s action, on top of the moral imperative of erasing one of the last and most noxious vestiges of Jim Crow in Virginia.

Lynchburg News and Advance
Restoring a Citizen's Fundamental Civil Rights:

Opponents of the governor’s move likely will challenge him in court; that’s their right. But we believe, in the final analysis, Gov. McAuliffe’s action is entirely constitutional. It is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do.