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Qualification of Voters – Virginia

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 101, 4 May 1865

The following is the Third Article of the Constitution of the State of Virginia adopted by the Convention which assembled in Alexandria on the 13th of February, 1864, and which prescribes the qualifications of voters in the State:

Every white male citizen of the Commonwealth, of the age of twenty-one years, who has been a resident of the State for one year, and of the county, city or town where he offers to vote for six months next preceding an election, and has paid all taxes assessed to him, after the adoption of this constitution, under the laws of the Commonwealth after the reorganization of the county, city or town where he offers to vote, shall be qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, and all officers elective by the people.  Provided, however, that no one shall be allowed to vote who, when he offers to vote, shall not thereupon take, or shall not before have taken, the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land, anything in the Constitution and laws of the State of Virginia, or in the ordinances of the Convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth day of February, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to the contrary notwithstanding; and that I will uphold and defend the government of Virginia as restored by the Convention which assembled at Wheeling on the eleventh day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and that I have not since the first day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, voluntarily given aid or assistance, in any way, to those in rebellion against the Government of the United States for the purpose of promoting the same. ” But the Legislature shall have power to pass an act or acts prescribing means which persons who have been disfranchised by this provision shall or may be restored to the rights of voters when in their opinion it will be safe to do so.  Any person falsely so swearing shall be subject to the penalties of perjury.

No person shall hold any office under this Constitution who shall not have taken and subscribed the oath aforesaid.  But no person shall vote or hold office under the constitution who has held office under the so called confederate government, or under any rebellious State government, or has been a member of the so called confederate congress, or a member of any State Legislature in rebellion against the authority of the United States, excepting therefrom county officers.