Skip to main content

Youngkin Rolling Us Back to "Jim Crow"

 If you didn’t know that Virginia’s policy towards re-instating voting rights to ex-prisoners has changed, you aren’t alone.  Seems that the governor made up his own policy and didn’t tell anyone about it. 

According to the Washington Post, Youngkin’s voting restoration policy for those who have done the time for crime is a secret, neither stated nor made public for those seeking to re-enroll as a Virginia voter. 

The past two governors, Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam, restored over 300,000 voting rights to Virginians who had completed sentences.  In fact, the process of reinstating voting rights to Virginians was made easier by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.   

However, to date, Youngkin has restored only 3,400 and sees no reason to let the state know why, or even how he makes his executive decisions.  

Ex-prisoners seeking to vote again aren’t on the run or involved in criminal activities. Many made mistakes when young and have given a good deal of their lives to repay their obligations.  They are ex-criminals because they have paid their debt mandated by law and are attempting the arduous task of returning to a society that will always see them with the taint of prison cell lingering about. 

Here’s the issue: voting is a right.  When society doesn’t allow those returning to it to participate as full members, it risks creating a potentially dangerous problem.  Those who don’t feel connected lose respect for the law and those who control it.  Refusing to re-enfranchise ex-prisoners causes a disenfranchisement which in turn creates a two- tiered system of citizenry, and weakens society as a whole. 

Voting is a right, not a privilege. You don’t lose your freedom of religion or your right to due process upon incarceration, nor should you lose your right to vote.

So the governor, who mistakenly believes he’s protecting society by denying rights, is actually weakening the foundation that this country was founded on: the right for all citizens to vote and fully participate in society. 

But maybe there’s another reason for Youngkin’s lack of voter restoration.  Maybe he knows that those who’ve seen the legal system and its injustice, the prison system and its overwhelming black and brown population, and employers and landlords who discriminate against those who have been incarcerated, maybe these citizens might not be inclined to vote for his party.  Maybe he knows that republicans have not always been at the vanguard of protecting rights and fighting discrimination.  Maybe he knows his party would rather limit the right to vote than insure voting rights for all.  

He seems determined to maintain Jim Crow discrimination practices and keep Virginia's vaulted reputation as being one of only several states that that still permanently take away people’s right to vote upon a felony conviction unless the governor restores it on an individual basis. This system has disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Virginians, the majority of whom are Black. The problem is so serious that one in five Black Virginians cannot vote because of felony disenfranchisement, even though Black people make up only about 20% of Virginia’s population.

In the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session, Democrats proposed numerous bills and Constitutional Amendments that would allow automatic restoration of civil rights after completing a felony sentence.  These bills, of course, were defeated by the republicans.

Maybe those who’ve done their time scare the socks off the governor. 

So he’s resorted to secrecy and dead of night policy changes that discriminate against ex- convicts.  Kind of makes you wonder what he plotting for the rest of us, doesn’t it ?

From the editor:  

If you want to stop Youngkin and the Republicans from "Rolling us Back to Jim Crow" please consider joining your local Democratic Committee to help make that happen.  We have a chance to take control of the General Assembly on November 7, 2023 and stop them in their tracks.

Staunton Democratic Committee


Popular posts from this blog

Jane’s Dilemma - Part 1

Our girl Jane just finished a four-year degree program, graduating with honors in front of beaming parents who proudly watched their only daughter receive her diploma.  Unfortunately, the day after graduation, Jane discovered that all of her fears were right and she was, indeed, pregnant. Her boyfriend of the past several months had accepted a job on the other side of the country. He shouted promises that they’d stay in touch over his shoulder as he ran to catch his flight. Jane was pretty sure they wouldn’t, just like she was pretty sure her parents wouldn’t continue beaming if she told them the news. Jane looked at the three letters of interest from companies she longed to work for, lined in a row on her desk. They had made her jubilant about her future just a week ago, before she began to suspect the truth. She wondered how much interest any of these potential employers would garner if she arrived, breathless with enthusiasm and obviously pregnant. Jane twirled a wrinkled, white car

Roar Like McMorrow

 Just over a year ago this happened: Michigan Senator Mallory McMorrow gave a powerful speech that went viral and was an inspiration for many progressives including myself. At that time, I had just retired as a health care provider for under-served members of our community and I knew I needed to get involved.  This speech kicked my rear end into gear so I joined the Staunton Democratic Committee. So what was so special about her speech ? There have been many individuals and communities in history that have stood up, spoke out, pushed back and bent but did not break.  This speech and her message of tolerance and caring for others while exposing and pushing back against the hatred and hypocrisy of others hit me at just the right time.  I had never heard of Mallory McMorrow but I will never forget that transformative moment.    All of us have had those moments where something happens to shift our thinking, pushes us into action and makes us a better person.  Also, we have all been the sou

Sound the alarm and woke up !

If you’ve turned on the TV recently, you’ve probably heard some politician talking about being “woke,” while sporting an expression that looks like he just swallowed castor oil. So what is this “woke” stuff, you ask ? Woke is the past tense of the verb to wake, and in my opinion, it beats the alternative in any case. If you don’t wake up in the morning, then you sleep through the day; if you don’t wake up from a day dream, you probably slept through the last meeting you attended. And if you don’t wake up from an operation, well, we all know what that means. So why is being “woke” so bad for those on the right ? It isn’t, unless you’re a Republican in bad need of a mantra that will get you re-elected by constituents who haven’t, well, waked up to what’s happening in this country. “If woke ideology takes over, it will destroy this country. We are not going to let that happen in the state of Florida,” said Ron DeSantis in a recent speech to his constituents. Let’s dig into that. The g