The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. Everyone deserves this right. Without it, our government will never truly represent the people it is meant to serve.
Virginia is one of only two states that still has a Jim Crow-era law banning anyone convicted of a felony from voting for the rest of their lives, unless the governor decides to restore an individual’s rights. This provision was enacted in Virginia’s 1902 constitution explicitly to stop Black Virginians from voting. To overturn it, we need a constitutional amendment.
We have made significant progress in other areas to increase access to the ballot box:
- We lobbied to pass same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting in 2020, taking Virginia from the second most difficult state in which to vote into the top half of states with expanded voting access.
- We’ve successfully challenged unconstitutional attempts to gerrymander election districts and dilute the voting power of Black communities for decades.
- We joined the League of Women Voters to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent vulnerable people from casting a ballot.
MAKE A DONATION today or BECOME A MEMBER to help secure the right to vote for all.
Sheba Williams, the founder of Nolef Turns Inc., was wrongfully convicted of a felony in 2004 and served five years in prison. After her release – despite her degree in business management and hardworking spirit – she struggled to find a job in her field because of her conviction.
Like the hundreds of thousands of other Virginians with felony convictions, Sheba also could not vote. Her right to vote was restored by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2015, but it should never have been taken away in the first place.
That’s why Sheba founded Nolef Turns: to help other people with felony convictions get access to basic rights and needs, like voting, housing and jobs. She tirelessly advocates for people who are formerly incarcerated and pushes for more compassionate laws that prioritize people over prisons.