Critics: McDonnell move on voting rights a step back
Edited by Chris Graham
Advocates for a streamlined process for the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons are viewing Bob McDonnell’s addition of a required essay as a step back to the Jim Crow era.
“By requiring nonviolent offenders to submit an essay, Gov. McDonnell is returning to a ‘blank sheet’ voter registration system that in the past disenfranchised many African American voters,” House Democratic Caucus Chair Ken Plum said today.
“By creating an additional, unnecessary and egregious hurdle, McDonnell has violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Federal Voting Rights Act,” Plum charged.
Virginia is one of only two states in the Union that does not automatically restore the voting rights of nonviolent ex-felon offenders after they have completed their sentences.
“Gov. McDonnell’s move creates another roadblock to the most basic democratic right we have: the ability to choose our own representatives. Someone who bounces a $200 check should not be permanently deprived of their right to vote or hunt,” House of Delegates Minority Leader Ward Armstrong said.