Richmond, Virginia—The enormous gains made around the expansion of voting rights in Virginia serve as an example for other states to follow as Republicans across the country push for new restrictions to disenfranchise voters, especially voters in Black and Brown communities. The Virginia Voting Rights Act enshrined voting rights into state law, requiring prior notification of local voting changes, expanding access for language minorities, and strengthening protections against threats of voter intimidation.
“The Virginia Voting Rights Act is setting the example for the nation,” Ashleigh Crocker, Communications Director at Progress Virginia, said. “The tireless efforts to expand voting access, largely led by Black women, ensured that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, housing status, income, or language spoken is able to make their voice heard at the ballot box. We hope more states will pass state-level Voting Rights Acts to expand and protect voter access. Our democracy is strongest when everyone can participate.”
As GOP restricts voting, Democrats move to expand [AP News, Anthony Izaguirre]
Once home to the capital of the Confederacy, Virginia has made Election Day a state holiday, repealed a voter identification law and allowed no-excuse absentee voting. Earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam approved a sweeping voting rights act, reinstating election rules once required by federal law to prevent racial discrimination.
Other Democratic states are also acting to remove restrictions to the ballot—in marked contrast to many Republican-controlled states that are moving in the opposite direction. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Iowa have already passed restrictive voting laws: Ohio and Texas are considering their own.