Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued an executive order on Tuesday restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have completed their sentences, the governor's office announced in a press release.
"Governor Ralph Northam today restored the civil rights of more than 69,000 Virginians using new eligibility criteria," the press release reads.
"Too many of our laws were written during a time of open racism and discrimination, and they still bear the traces of inequity," said Northam, who infamously could not tell whether he was wearing blackface or a Klan outfit in a photograph leaked in 2019.
"Restoring the rights of Virginians who have served their time makes it easier for these men and women to move forward with their lives," said Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson.
The move by Northam follows an amendment to the Virginia constitution passed earlier this year to restore voting rights to felons. However, the Virginia constitution already allows the governor to override constitutional restrictions on voting and other civil rights for convicted felons except the right to own a firearm.
Other civil liberties which convicted felons are deprived from in Virginia include the right to serve on a jury, run for office, or become a public notary.