System to Restore Voting Rights to Felons Not Working - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

System to Restore Voting Rights to Felons Not Working

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RICHMOND –Gov. McDonnell announced an automated system to take effect July 15 allowing nonviolent offenders a chance to restore their civil rights and vote in elections in Virginia.

But some say the system is not working.

A woman who has asked not to be identified was excited to finally be able to cast her ballot in the November election. A felony driving offense ten years ago banned her from the polls.

"I was convicted of a driving felony and alcohol was involved. it is something that I have worked long and hard to get my life back in order."

So when the governor announced an automated system to help non-violent offenders restore their civil rights, she was among the first to apply.

"They didn't have the link online yet so they said to mail or fax the paperwork. I faxed everything over completed the form, signed it, dated it."

She also called the new hotline.

"It went straight to a voicemail."

After a month went by and no one called her back, she applied again.

"And then called again and got the same automated message."

Several more months went by and still no word.  Then finally mid-October she gets this letter saying her rights have been restored but not soon enough.  

It's too late for her to register to vote next Tuesday.

"It is frustrating because I have spent 10 years not having a voice."

The Governor's office reports that since the automated system began, more than 1,500 non-violent offenders have had their rights to vote restored.

8News reached out to the Governor's office who said in part:

"This administration has restored more rights than any in Virginia history. Also, the governor put in place Virginia's first ever automatic, individualized restoration of rights process. No administration in Virginia history has ever done this much to improve and expedite the restoration of rights process. We've also added staff to further speed up the process and the governor will be putting new resources into restoration of rights in the biennial budget unveiled in December."


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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