Policy Updates and Timeline

  • 2018
  • January 13, 2018

    Governor Northam takes offices and continues restoration of rights efforts.

  • 2016
  • August 22, 2016

    Governor McAuliffe releases updated restoration of rights policy

    Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that he and his team have begun restoring the civil rights of former Virginia felons in compliance with an order by the Virginia Supreme Court.

    Governor McAuliffe's Full Press Release

  • July 22, 2016

    Virginia Supreme Court rules against Governor McAuliffe’s April 22, 2016 order.

    "Once again, the Virginia Supreme Court has placed Virginia as an outlier in the struggle for civil and human rights. It is a disgrace that the Republican leadership of Virginia would file a lawsuit to deny more than 200,000 of their own citizens the right to vote. And I cannot accept that this overtly political action could succeed in suppressing the voices of many thousands of men and women who had rejoiced with their families earlier this year when their rights were restored."

    Governor McAuliffe's Full Statement

  • May 11, 2016

    Governor McAuliffe releases analysis of Virginians Whose Voting Rights Have Been Restored Overwhelmingly Nonviolent, Completed Sentences More Than A Decade Ago

    The analysis reveals that the average time since release and completion of parole or probation is 11.1 years. The average age of this population is 45.9 years. Previous to his April 22nd order, Governor McAuliffe offered immediate restoration of rights to nonviolent felons and imposed a 3-year waiting period on any violent felons. According to this analysis, 93.4% of individuals covered by the April 22nd order would have been qualified before that date.

    Full Analysis

  • April 22, 2016

    Governor McAuliffe issues order restoring the rights of more than 200,000 Virginians—streamlining the restoration process.

  • 2015
  • June 23, 2015

    Governor McAuliffe announced that outstanding court costs and fees will no longer be a prerequisite to an individual having his or her rights restored.

    Since the beginning of Governor McAuliffe’s term, he has implemented key changes to the restoration of rights process. First, he removed the requirement to pay court fees before submitting a restoration of rights application. Although individuals still have to pay the fees at a later time, it is no longer a barrier in the application process. Second, serious offenders are now required to wait three years instead of five years to apply. Third, the application is now one page long - down from 13 pages. Fourth, criminal records will have a restoration of rights notation once an individual has been restored. Fifth, all drug convictions are now classified as non-violent offenses.

    Press Release

  • June 23, 2015

    Governor McAuliffe announces that individuals who have their rights restored will now have the option to include a notation in their criminal record designating that their rights have been restored.

    Under the new reform, outstanding court costs and fees will no longer prohibit an individual from having his or her rights restored.

    “We have forced these men and women to battle a complicated and bewildering tangle of red tape to reach the voting booth, and too often we still turn them away,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These men and women will still be required to pay their costs and fees, but their court debts will no longer serve as a financial barrier to voting, just as poll taxes did for so many years in Virginia.”

  • 2014
  • December 18, 2014

    Governor McAuliffe announces the restoration of civil and voting rights to over 5,100 Virginians.

    Today Governor McAuliffe announced that Virginia has restored the civil and voting rights of over 5,100 ex-offenders, more than any other governor has done in just one year. Additionally, the governor announced major changes to the restoration of rights application process for offenders of more serious crimes, including shortening the application from 13 pages to just one page and removing burdensome requirements such as notarization and letters to the governor.

    Press Release

  • April 18, 2014

    Governor McAuliffe announces amendments to Virginia’s restoration of rights policy to include the following:

    • Shortening the request from thirteen pages to one page
    • Removing the waiting period after completion of court ordered supervision
    • Streamlining the restoration process so that all returning citizens have the same eligibility requirements and eliminated post-supervision waiting period on all offenses

    Press Release