A House of Delegates committee on Friday stopped a proposal from Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, that would have given legislators authority over deciding which felons receive the right to vote again, while reducing the governor’s power. The proposed constitutional amendment — Senate Joint Resolution 223 — passed the Republican-controlled Senate 21-19 earlier this month after bitter, partisan debate. In the House Privileges and Elections Committee on Friday, a motion to advance the proposal did not receive a second, and it is expected to die in the committee as this year’s General Assembly session heads into its final week.
Liberal group New Virginia Majority and the Democratic Party of Virginia issued news releases praising the legislation’s defeat.
Virginia is in a minority of states in which felons do not automatically get the right to vote once they are released from prison.
Norment’s proposal followed an order from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in April in which McAuliffe said he would use executive power to restore voting rights for more than 200,000 felons who had served their time.