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February 25, 2021

A recent poll conducted by the Beacon Research group for the ACLU of Virginia showed strong support (65%) for a guaranteed right to vote for all Virginia citizens 18 and older.  This remains virtually unchanged from when a similar poll was done in December of 2019.

Beacon Research tested supporter, opposition and balanced messaging, and after hearing the balanced messaging, 51% of those surveyed still continued to back universal suffrage. By a narrow margin, 37% versus 30% of voters are more likely to vote for a legislator who supports the universal right to vote, especially younger voters, Black voters and those in some closely watched Senate districts. 

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The research showed that eight out of 10 voters think the status quo needs a change, and there is significant support for the bolder of the two options that would not only restore people’s rights but ensure that the racist practice of felony disenfranchisement is repealed.  

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Virginia remains one of three states left with a Jim Crow era policy that permanently bans a person convicted of a felony from voting. Disenfranchising people convicted of a felony was implemented specifically to suppress voting by Black Virginians during the post-reconstruction era culminating in the 1902 constitution. Felony disenfranchisement still affects Virginia today: One in seven Black Virginians can’t vote because they were once convicted of a felony. This remains true even though only one in ten Virginians supports permanently taking the right to vote.

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Beacon Research sampled 1,000 Virginia voters using an online panel on February 6-8. The sample was weighted to ensure that the sample reflects the demographics of the Virginia electorate, resulting in a margin of error of +3% at a confidence level of 95% for the entire sample, and a slightly higher margin for the subgroups.