Virginia introduces re-vamped process for restoration of voting rights

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May 21, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

RICHMOND, Virginia: Governor Bob McDonnell introduced a new process to revamp the process for convicted felons who seek to have their voting rights restored. The first-year Governor of Virginia announced the new procedures on May 20, 2010 as he followed through on a campaign promise to improve the process of civil rights restoral for those convicted of a felony[1].

In Virginia, the previous requirements asked persons who have been convicted of a non-violent offense to wait three years after serving their sentence to apply for civil rights restoration[1]. Under the new procedures, the wait is reduced to two years. Also, Governor McDonnell announced additional measures that are aimed to improve the process. This includes that all applications sent to the Governor must have a decision returned in 60 days, reducing the waiting period for re-applications from two years to one, allowing law enforcement to submit supporting documents electronically, and enlisting a public-private sector relationship to help gather ideas to improve the civil rights restoration process. Since his days as a state legislator, Governor McDonnell has sought to improve the process for individuals seeking to restore their voting rights after serving jail time[1].

Governor McDonnell stated: "there is no reason an individual should have to wait a year or more to get an answer on an application that comes to the Governor's office. This Administration will speed up the process dramatically."[1] King Salim Khalfani who leads the NAACP in Virginia commended the Governor by stating: "the Virginia State Conference NAACP is encouraged that Governor McDonnell has already made a decision on the majority of completed applications submitted during the first few months of his Administration. We look forward to working with the Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth and those who desire to have their rights restored in Virginia."[1]

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