Felons in Virginia will be eligible to vote effective immediately upon their release thanks to Gov. Ralph Northam.
Northam’s executive action reverses previous Virginia law, which stated that anyone convicted of a felony in the state would permanently lose their right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, become a public notary or carry a firearm.
The action effects more than 69,000 Virginians.
“Too many of our laws were written during a time of open racism and discrimination, and they still bear the traces of inequity,” Northam said.
An update to Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson’s website noted that the changes went into effect immediately, and that former felons looking to restore their firearm rights should contact their local circuit court.
“I am proud of Governor Northam’s initiative to welcome these individuals back into society. All Virginians deserve to have their voices heard, and these changes demonstrate the Northam Administration’s continued commitment to second chances, rehabilitation, and restorative justice,” Said Thomasson.