Governor McAuliffe Implements ACLU of Virginia Recommendation to Remove Modern Day Poll Tax

Civil Liberties Group Continues Fight to Eliminate Felon Disenfranchisement Law

Affiliate: ACLU of Virginia
June 23, 2015 2:00 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Virginia
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

RICHMOND, VA Following requests from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia to Governor McAuliffe and former Governor McDonnell, today the McAuliffe administration announced the removal of the requirement that individuals with a felony conviction pay their fees, fines, and restitution costs before becoming eligible to have their voting rights restored.

“The right to vote is a fundamental American right – we celebrate Governor McAuliffe’s decision to ensure that people do not lose this right on the basis of a modern day poll tax,” said Hope Amezquita, ACLU of Virginia Staff Attorney and Legislative Counsel. “Nothing in the Governor’s decision takes away the responsibility of Virginians to pay monies owed, it just means that Virginia will no longer condition the fundamental right to vote on financial obligations.”

The ACLU of Virginia has been a constant champion in the fight for restoration of rights and strongly supports all positive efforts to ensure that no Virginian is ever denied the right to vote because of the felon disenfranchisement ban.

“While today’s announcement is an important step forward, many individuals will still be unable to vote because of the Commonwealth’s felon disenfranchisement ban,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. “The only way to rid Virginia of this Jim Crow era relic is to amend the Constitution of Virginia, something that we are working hard to place on the 2018 ballot. We call on all Virginians to support the repeal of this discriminatory ban.”

The Governor’s announcement also included a policy change that will enable Virginians whose rights were restored to have that noted on their criminal record.

About ACLU of Virginia
The ACLU of Virginia promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation, and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. For more information on the ACLU of Virginia go to

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Smart Justice

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Smart Justice

Smart Justice issue image

The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to challenge racism in the criminal legal system.