by Kimberly R. Nario
Everyday we hear about elected officials who are actively working to dismantle our democracy. But did you know some of those very people are right here in our state legislature? Just this past session, several Republicans in both the state Senate and House of Delegates introduced bills to rollback progress on our voting rights. From removing ballot drop boxes, to voter ID and registration requirements, to cutting down on days of early voting, Republicans were really doing entirely too much. Thankfully progressives in the Senate made sure all of these truly awful bills ended up where they belong: in the trash.
But now is no time to rest. This year every single seat in the Virginia State House of Delegates and the Virginia State Senate is on the line. That means 140 elections at the state level, not including any special elections. So is it a coincidence that Governor Youngkin wants to make it more difficult for some people to vote?
Only two states in the entire country permanently take away a person’s right to vote after a felony conviction–unless the governor intervenes to restore those rights. And guess what, y’all. VIRGINIA IS ONE OF THOSE STATES! How embarrassing! Even worse, felon disenfranchisement is rooted in Jim Crow era racist policies. Now, the Youngkin administration is requiring people with felony convictions to apply to regain their voting rights. After that, applications will be reviewed on a “case by case” basis. Can anyone tell me WTF that means?
Our democracy works best when we all participate. When people serve their time and return to society, they should have the opportunity to live healthy productive lives in their communities. That means they should also have a say in how their communities are represented. It’s no secret that barriers to voting largely affect Black, Latinx, and low-income people the most. Same goes for felon disenfranchisement. In fact, one in five Black Virginians cannot vote. That fact alone should ring all the alarms.
We all know Youngkin doesn’t comprehend the concept of equity, but it’s time he learns. We don’t need a tip line to let him know he’s making the wrong move. Contact Youngkin now, and let him know what you think about his heinous decision to infringe on voting rights.