Public Comments for: HB796 - Voter registration; restoration of political rights upon release from incarceration.
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The Virginia League of Conservation Supports HB130, HB416, HB795, HB796, HJ9, HJ28 and HJ72. It is time for Virginia to pass the Constitutional Amendment that allows for the restoration of civil rights in the Commonwealth. Virginia LCV supports expanding access and Virginia is 1 of only 3 states that permanently disenfranchises voters. It is time that we as a Commonwealth move past this Jim Crow era law and catch up with the rest of the nation on this issue. This should not a partisan political issue but a chance that our values as a Commonwealth match the laws we have on the books.
I urge the Committee to approve the constitutional amendment and related bills on the restoration of voting rights for persons convicted of a felony who have completed their sentences, HJ28 and HB416 (Del. Herring), HJ9 and HB130 (Del. Cherry), and HJ72, HB795, and HB796 (Del. Price). As Delegate Cherry said in a recent article, "My faith teaches me that people make mistakes, and they can be redeemed from those mistakes and become, in this case, contributing members to society again. I don’t think we should impose lifetime restrictions and punishments on people when the courts did not deem it necessary to give them a life sentence." My own faith teaches me the same lessons. The restoration of voting rights should be automatic upon a person's release from incarceration and should not be left up to the inclinations of whoever the governor may be at the time. Such restoration tells the person that he or she has been accepted back into society and is expected to fulfill his or her civic responsibilities while enjoying the rights of citizenship. Thank you for considering my views.
Virginia enacted several new voting laws in 2020 and 2021 to make voting more accessible during the pandemic. Early in-person voting hours were increased, mail-in absentee ballots no longer required a witness signature, more drop-box locations were available. These changes led to record voter turnout (with insignificant fraud) in both the 2020 presidential election and the 2021 gubernatorial election. Therefore I oppose any new bill that would restrict our rights to accessible voting.
Voting is a constitutional right. Any law that restricts rather than expands our constitutional right & DUTY to vote is simply voter suppression. We must not repeal any expansions of absentee ballots. Do not decrease early voting. - extend the number of days allowed. Do not eliminate any ballot box locations- expand. We have no need to re-register absentee ballots every year. No excuse absentee voting is absolutely crucial. The state must provide easy and free access to voter ID if a photo is required. Since the USPS has slowed considerably, we must keep the 3 day rule for receiving ballots after election day. All local elections must be on Election Day (in Nov). Election Day should be a holiday. Until we do a complete overhaul of campaign finance & eliminate dark money/special interests there must be no restrictions on outreach, education & registration or from where a candidate may collect funds. Voter registration up to and including Election Day is absolutely crucial to ensure all citizens vote. I support all bills expanding our rights and abilities to make voting as easy as possible. I oppose all bills attempting to restrict any access to our ballot and our vote. The process is too important for the elected officials to be able to restrict us from our duty to be informed voters. Keep expanding our rights. Do not restrict, suppress or subvert them.