RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly 3,500 Virginians have had their civil rights restored by Gov. Glenn Youngkin since he took office in January, allowing them to vote, run for public office or serve on a jury.
In Virginia, those who are convicted of a felony automatically lose these rights. Under the current system, the governor is the only way someone with a felony on their record could regain these rights.
According to the governor’s office, the civil rights of 3,496 people convicted of felonies have been restored since Youngkin was sworn in.
A legislative effort to automatically restore voting rights to people with felony convictions once they are free was blocked multiple times this year by Virginia Republicans.
“I am encouraged that over 3,400 Virginians will take this critical first step towards vibrant futures as citizens with full civil rights,” Youngkin, a Republican, said in a statement. “Individuals with their rights restored come from every walk of life and are eager to provide for themselves, their families and put the past behind them for a better tomorrow.”
Youngkin’s office said his administration will restore people’s civil rights “on an ongoing basis.”