The Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Chairwoman Susan Swecker released the following statement in response to Virginia Republican Leaders' proposal to amend the state Constitution:
"The proposal by Republican leaders is their most duplicitous, political action to date. Senator Norment’s two-faced amendment exposes Virginia Republicans’ true intentions - to permanently marginalize an entire class of Virginians.
"Senator Norment’s statement conveniently glosses over the crucial pieces of his amendment. Virginia Republicans intend to disenfranchise felons convicted of violent felonies, regardless of circumstance, without any opportunity of restoration. It also requires completion of even suspended sentences. This means these men and women are no longer under any active supervision, often resulting from overly burdensome drug convictions, in which decades or more of time are suspended. Governor McDonnell ended this onerous requirement during his term.
"Lastly, the Senator and his allies disingenuously state that the proposal is designed to automatically restore the voting rights of non-violent felons. But by reinstituting the requirement to pay court costs, a measure that is a resurrection of the poll tax, the restoration is automatic in name only.
"Virginia Republicans have proposed an empty amendment. It is a gesture designed to curtail any dissent or outcry over a systematic effort to restrict voting in the Commonwealth of Virginia."