The Tour will be at the Massanutten Regional Library in Harrisonburg to highlight major problems with Virginia’s system of incarceration and reentry for returning citizens could loom larger than life as the state moves towards November elections. Fifty years after the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, the post-Shelby era has many advocates are calling for restoration of the VRA and scrambling to get voters prepared to vote as 2015 marks only the second year in the past 50 without all the protections of the VRA.
Currently there are over 450,000 formerly incarcerated citizens who have not regained their full civil rights which include the right to vote. According to Lillie Branch –Kennedy, executive director of Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD), incarceration shouldn’t mean a lifetime of disenfranchisement or voiding a person’s civil rights.
“Returning citizens who’ve done their time, have the same right to vote as any other citizen,” said Branch-Kennedy. “Governor (Terry) McAuliffe has done a great job and removed some of the barriers to regaining ones rights. Our job is pushing to make those changes permanent as well as making sure that those who are disenfranchised are aware of these changes and understand the process for restoring their rights,” she added.