Can the Government actually take away my voting rights?
Can I get my voting rights back?
Am I eligible to have my rights restored?
The Governor of Virginia has only one criteria for restoring voting rights: have you completed your sentence. If so, the Governor will restore your rights. NOTE: Effective March 16, 2021, individuals are eligible to have their rights restored after being released from incarceration. That means you can regain your right to vote even if you are still on probation/parole.
If I have committed multiple felonies, can I still get my right to vote back?
Yes, as long as you’ve completed your sentence on each of the felonies (*not* including any supervised probation/parole). Effective March 16, 2021, individuals are eligible to have their rights restored after being released from incarceration and need not wait until probation/parole is complete to get their right to vote back.
Is it possible that the Governor has already restored my voting rights without me asking?
Yes. Starting in August 2016 the Governor began restoring rights to eligible Virginians whether or not they applied for rights restoration.
Finding everyone who is eligible is difficult. If you are not yet in the Governor’s database, there is a process for people to add their information so the Governor can restore their rights too.
Confused? Call us at 844-932-8683 and we can help (free and confidential).
How do I check if the Governor has already restored my rights?
The Governor’s office created a database that allows people to check whether their voting rights have been restored. You can search the database by entering your name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. The database can be found here.
What should I do if the Governor’s database says my record is not found?
This means that the Governor has not yet restored your voting rights.
You can find the application here on the Governor’s rights restoration website. This online application requires that you enter your full Social Security Number. RMV can send you a paper form if you are more comfortable.
For more information, check out RMV’s page on what to do if your status is “Record Not Found.“
I don’t feel comfortable entering in my Social Security Number online. Is there another way to get my rights back?
Yes. Please call RMV at 844-932-8683 and we can help!
How long do I have to wait once I have submitted my information?
The Governor’s office takes about 2-3 weeks to process requests. You can periodically check the Governor’s database to see if any changes have occurred.
If you have been waiting four weeks or more, call RMV at 844-932-8683. We can help figure out why it’s taking so long.
The Database listed my status as “Ineligible,” what should I do?
This means the Governor believes you are not eligible to have your rights restored. The most common reason is that the Governor has determined that you have not completed your sentence.
If you believe this is incorrect, please contact us at (844) 932-8683.
The Database listed my status as “Pending,” what does this mean?
This means the Governor has your information and is aware that you may be eligible and is working on restoring your rights. The Governor is in the process of confirming you have completed your sentence. You should look through the information listed on the Governor’s lookup tool to make sure it is correct. Please contact us at (844) 932-8683 if the Governor has incorrect information about you in the database.
The Governor usually takes 2-3 weeks to complete the process of confirming eligibility. Please contact us at (844) 932-8683 if your status is listed as “Pending” for longer than 2-3 weeks and we can help you figure out why.
The Database lists my status as granted, does that mean my voting rights have been restored?
Congratulations! If your status is “Granted,” that means the governor has restored your voting rights. You should receive a personalized restoration order in the mail without about 3-4 weeks after the date your rights were restored. Please contact us at (844) 932-8683 if you do not receive your official grant order in the mail within that time period.
What if I still owe fines or fees?
You can get your right to vote back even if you still owe fines or fees from your conviction. You still owe this money and must pay it, but owing money does not stop you from getting back your right to vote.
Once I get my voting rights back, what next?
My voting rights have been restored; does this mean that I can now vote?
Not yet! Although your voting rights are restored, you still must register to vote. You’ll be able to vote in the next election as soon as you register.
Click here to learn more about voting in Virginia.
So what rights will this restore?
Once the governor has restored your civil rights, you can now:
Restoring your civil rights does not include the right to own a firearm. For more information on regaining your gun rights, check the State Police website.
If I get my civil rights back, does that mean I get my gun rights back too?
No. In order to restore your gun rights you must petition the Circuit court in the jurisdiction where you live for a permit to possess, ship, or transport a firearm. For more information, visit the State Police website.
If I commit another felony in the future, will I need to request my voting rights be restored again?
Yes. Your civil rights will be lost again if you commit a felony after you have had your rights restored. You will not be eligible to vote again in Virginia until you have completed your new sentence.
Does the Governor’s order to restore my rights remove the conviction from my criminal record?
No, the Governor’s order does not remove convictions from your criminal record or excuse you from any court fees, fines or restitution owed. The order only restores your civil rights.
Is it possible to note on my criminal record that the Governor has restored my rights?
Yes. Once your civil rights have been restored, it is possible to have a notation added to your Virginia Criminal Record showing that your civil rights have been restored. Call Revive My Vote at 844-932-8683 to learn more about this process.
Why is Getting My Rights Back Important?
Why this matters!
Our Democracy has far too many missing voices. The government is supposed to work for you, the voter.
Government cannot work effectively unless you vote.
Every single vote counts. An election can be decided by just a single vote. Don’t believe it? Here are a few times in U.S. history where just a few votes shaped the course of history:
- In 2000 the Presidential election was decided by just 537 votes in Florida.
- Richard Nixon, not John F. Kennedy, would have become President of the U.S. in 1960 if one person from each voting place had voted differently.
The same is true in Virginia. A Virginia election has been decided by a small margin three times in the last fifteen years:
- In 2013 Mark Herring defeated Mark Obenshain for Virginia Attorney General after a recount. Herring won by just 907 votes.
- In 2005 Bob McDonnell defeated Creigh Deeds for Virginia Attorney General after a recount. McDonnell won by only 323 votes.
- In June 2017, the Republican primary was decided by less than 4,000 votes.
Every vote matters.
Simply put, voting gives you power. Voting gives you the power to tell the government what you want. Voting gives you the power to make a change or voice your support for the way this state and this country is run. Voting even gives you the power to help shape the world. Above all else, voting gives you the power to positively affect your future.