Local Civic Officials Help Felons Restore Voting Rights

Local Civic Officials Help Felons Restore Voting Rights

Local civic leaders have been working to have voting rights restored to convicted felons who have paid their debts to society.
Winchester, VA - Local civic leaders have been working to have voting rights restored to convicted felons who have paid their debts to society.

"It's just a shame for people to not be fully participating citizens in this society, when they have made up as far as possible," said Ethel Doherty, the political action chair for the Winchester NAACP.

The Advancement Project has released a new set of guidelines for voter rights restoration. It offers step-by-step procedures and checklists, for non-violent and violent offenders who have served their sentences, paid all fines and have been in good standing with the law.

"The NAACP and the Coalition for Racial Unity are trying very hard to reach anyone who is in this position, who could recover his or her rights and doesn't know how to go about it," Doherty said. 

According to the Advancement Project, more than 450,000 people in Virginia have had their rights taken away. Governor McDonnell has restored voting rights to more felons than any other Virginia governor. He says up to 100,000 felons could have their rights restored in the future. Restoration would mean former felons will not only be able to vote, but hold public office, serve on a jury, and be a notary. In May, the governor announced the start of an automatic restoration for felons that went into effect in July. Now local leaders are reaching out to community members.

"The churches are the best vehicle for reaching out to the communities," said Guss Morrison, the chairman of the Coalition for Racial Unity and the vice-president of the Winchester NAACP. "Each church, each of the black churches in the Winchester area are made up of members in those communities where 99-percent of the felons are located."

With the approaching November election voting deadlines, they say their efforts are that much more important. The deadline to register to vote in Virginia is October 15th.

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus