It was, I must say, a bit painful to have the conversation with them after, inquiring if they had thought about petitioning the Governor for their civic rights once the appropriate time period had passed. Pretty much 95% of the time all I received was resistance. People felt disheartened, unmotivated, and confused about the process.
This year there is good news for those young folks I encountered, who really wanted to vote but felt unable to navigate the hoop jumping required to get them back up to the status of voting-eligible citizen. Governor McAuliffe issued a blanket order to restore them to that status.
From the Virginia Governor’s website:
“Governor McAuliffe’s April 22 order restores the rights to all individuals who, as of April 22, 2016, have completed the terms of incarceration and have completed any period of supervised release (probation or parole) for any and all felony convictions.”
This means that the approximately 206,000 individuals who had their rights restored, instead of feeling locked out of society after they have served their time, can get back to being voting citizens. In the past we helped create a model in which our civic engagement contacts at Virginia Commonwealth University had done voter registration and education Mosby Court public housing project, part of the focus was helping former felons through the process to get eligible, and to get registered in Mosby Court public housing project. For 2016 thanks the the new order from the Governor we can just make that process happen quick, happen more often, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
Anyone interested in helping a Virginia resident who is a former felon that has served their time can have them make sure they are covered under the restoration by using this search tool from the Governor’s office. After make sure they register to vote and get to the polls!
For more information on CEEP work in Virginia contact Tonya at firstname.lastname@example.org.