Virginia’s Landmark Voting Rights Act Goes Into Effect

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, the historic Virginia Voting Rights Act went into effect. The legislation, passed by the Democratic majorities in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates and signed by a Democratic governor, restores key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted on a nationwide level by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law:

  • Establishes early voting on Sundays.
  • Provides pre-paid postage on all mail-in ballots.
  • Bans at-large local elections if they dilute the voting power of minority populations. 
  • Requires local authorities to provide voting materials in multiple languages when needed.
  • And much more.

Virginia is the first state in the South to pass its own Voting Rights Act. Democratic lawmakers celebrated the occasion, calling it a new day in Virginia. The law went into effect the same day the Supreme Court dealt a blow to the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, a fact that Virginia officials recognized. “For more than six decades, the Supreme Court could be counted on as a reliable partner in protecting Americans’ fundamental voting rights, but not anymore,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) in a statement. “It is so important that the Commonwealth now has its own Voting Rights Act in place to protect Virginians’ fundamental right to vote and prevent any kind of discriminatory conduct.” 

Read the Virginia Voting Rights Act here.