Frequently Asked Questions

The most efficient way to have your rights restored is to contact us. You can let us know you'd like to have your rights restored by clicking here.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth's office does work to identify individuals who meet the Governor's standards for rights restoration, even if they don't contact our office.

Governor McAuliffe will consider restoration of rights for any individuals that have finished any term of supervision and any term of supervised release (including supervised probation or parole).

The Restoration of Rights office will prepare a personalized restoration order for each individual who has his/her rights restored. The order will be mailed to the individual.

The review process usually takes 2-3 weeks after an individual has contacted the office requesting restoration of rights. Click here to contact the office and request your rights be restored.

Your rights can be restored by the Governor of Virginia. Click here to contact our office to have your rights restored.

The Governor does not have the authority to restore firearms rights. Contact your local circuit court for information about restoration of firearms rights.

Noncitizens are not eligible to vote, serve on a jury or run for office, but may be eligible to serve as a notary public. Contact our office at 804-692-0104 to have your rights restored.

Anyone convicted of a felony in Virginia automatically loses their civil rights - the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, become a notary public and carry a firearm. The Constitution of Virginia gives the Governor the sole discretion to restore civil rights, not including firearm rights.

On April 22, 2016, Governor McAuliffe signed an order restoring rights to Virginians with felony convictions who, as of that date, met the eligibility requirements. This order and subsequent monthly orders were challenged in court, and in July 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in Howell v. McAuliffe that the violated the state constitution.

Following the Supreme Court decision, the Department of Elections and Secretary of the Commonwealth (SOC) quickly complied with the Court’s order for the Secretary of the Commonwealth to delete from the records any individuals who had their rights restored under these orders, and for the Department of Elections to cancel the voter registration of any individual whose rights were restored under these orders. All individuals who registered to vote pursuant to Governor McAuliffe’s April 22, May 31 and June 24 orders were mailed a cancellation notice from the Department of Elections.

On August 22, 2016, Governor McAuliffe announced a new policy for restoration of rights that has been upheld by the court.  Since that time, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office has led a thorough review of the individuals who had their rights revoked and voter registration canceled to determine whether each individual meets the Governor’s standards for restoration of rights. The Governor has reviewed and approved the restoration of rights for many of those individuals.