Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) was founded on several key principles. Included among them: Voting is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed for all.. Voting is not a mere privilege subject to legislative whim to be granted or revoked depending on the politics of the moment. Unfortunately, in your state, these fundamental rights are at risk right now!
When originally drafted, the Virginia Constitution was a landmark document. Sadly, tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31st at 4pm the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee will meet to consider SJ 223 (Norment – R) that would make the following outrageous changes to the Virginia Constitution:
- Continue to say anyone convicted of any felony at any time can never vote again unless they meet certain criteria and follow certain procedures to ask for their rights back.
- Condition the right to vote on full repayment of government fines, costs and user fees (including interest) — a modern day poll tax.
- Give the legislature the ability to decide whether a felony is violent or nonviolent and to decide the terms on which people convicted of nonviolent felonies can get their right to vote back.
- Establish very specific criteria for the governor to follow in deciding whether to give a person convicted of a violent felony their rights back, including a requirement that a person wait five years after all fines, fees and costs are paid before even asking for their rights back.
This is moving backward not forward! Tell your Senator to oppose SJ 223 and support SJ319 (Locke-D) which would affirm the right to vote for everyone.
Our votes are supposed to determine our who government officials are. It should not be something that government officials can take away from us. Please join PDA demanding the right to vote for everyone. It makes no sense to argue about whether it is the governor or the legislature who should decide who gets to vote and who doesn't. It's time to determine once and for all that voting is a fundamental right, not privilege to be granted to or taken away from Virginians at the whim of those who should serve us.
It is time to stop disenfranchising people as a punishment, and recognize that the voters of Virginia have an unalienable right to vote by enshrining that right in the Commonwealth's Constitution without limit or condition.
We need you to act now! Send your state legislators a strong message today. It's time to allow the voters of Virginia the right to vote on enshrining the right to vote in the Constitution without limit or condition.
Would you be willing to make a call to members of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee as well? Our new phone tool includes a script you can use and allows you to call for free (we pay for the call).
Donna Smith for Mike H, Judy, Mike F, Deb, Dan, Teva, Kim, Janis, and Amos
Your Progressive Democrats of America National Team
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