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Posted at 6:57 PM ET, 04/15/2010

Virginia, don't regress
on voting rights

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Brian Moran
Alexandria

As The Post reported, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) is considering calling on nonviolent felons to “submit an essay outlining their contributions to society since their release” from prison [“Letters to felons sent by mistake, officials say,” Metro, April 14]. Such an essay requirement would return us to an embarrassing era.

I was proud to be the chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission Subcommittee that exposed Virginia’s deplorable record on restoring voting rights. From 1999 to 2000, during the administration of Gov. James S. Gilmore III, an abysmal 43 applications for restoration of voting rights were granted. I worked with the Warner administration to modernize the process and eliminate impediments to the restoration process. As a result, 7,888 felons had their rights restored in the past eight years.

In 2003, I authored a constitutional amendment that would have allowed for the “restoration of rights pursuant to general law for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies.” I was proud to have then-Del. McDonnell as a supporter and co-patron. The essay requirement would have us regress on an issue where the commonwealth has recently made significant progress. I hope that Mr. McDonnell will reconsider.

The writer is a former delegate from Alexandria. He was a candidate in the 2009 Democratic primary for Virginia governor.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | April 15, 2010; 6:57 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Va. Politics, Virginia, crime  | Tags:  Bob McDonnell, Brian Moran, Virginia voting rights, va. felons right to vote  
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Comments

Doing your time should be enough. Period.

Posted by: jckdoors | April 16, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I do not think an essay, asking what the person has learned from the experience, is too much to ask for the restoration of this civil right. Those who think it will impact blacks heavily because of high crime rates and low writing skills are racist.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 16, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

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