McAuliffe Making it Easier for Felons to Regain Voting Rights - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

McAuliffe Making it Easier for Felons to Regain Voting Rights

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - Governor McAuliffe is making it easier for felons to regain their voting rights.

McAuliffe announced he is reducing the waiting period for violent felons to having voting rights restored from five years to three years. He is also removing drug offenses from the list of violent crime.

Last November, local Richmond man Darrell Gooden, who was once a convicted non-violent felon, cast his first vote in years after having his rights restored.

"It feels like I'm living now," he says. "Like I actually matter in this country. Voting makes me feel like I can actually change or vote someone who can change the country."

McAuliffe says he is hoping even more ex-cons will be afforded this same opportunity.

The ACLU of Virginia says they help eligible ex-felons begin the process of getting their rights restored.

"Today Governor McAuliffe announces two significant reforms for restoration of voting rights in the commonwealth," says Hope Amezquita. "This is just a start we would like to see Governor McAuliffe in his next reform to this process eliminate the requirement of repayment of fines and fees and restitution for the purposes of restoration of rights."

The changes build off of efforts started by former Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell's administration restored civil rights of more than 8,000 felons, nearly twice as many as any previous administration.

McAuliffe says his administration has restored the rights of more than 800 residents in his first three months in office.

For more information on how to start the process of having voting rights restored, visit

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