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McDonnell's office says letters were sent to felons in error

Anita Kumar

As we reported this morning, Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration mistakenly sent letters to more than 200 felons telling them that they had to write a personal letter to the governor to get their voting rights restored.

The letters sent to felons said that, "as a new requirement," nonviolent offenders must provide a "personal letter to the Governor explaining the circumstances of your arrest and conviction." They were also told to detail their efforts to get a job, seek education, and participate in church and community activities, and why they think their rights should be restored. The governor's letter went on to say that failure to do so would result in applications being closed "with prejudice."

"The letter was sent without approval by a well-meaning staffer attempting to continue to process requests even while new procedures were being considered," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said.

The McDonnell administration is still considering whether to require nonviolent felons to write letters.

"This seems like an odd way to make policy," said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Kent Willis. "But, we are delighted if the administration is serious about dropping the requirement for a lengthy personal letter to the Governor and look forward to a productive discussion with the Governor's office about improving the restoration procedure."

Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Polarek will meet with the ACLU, the NAACP and other groups that work with felons today to talk about changes the governor's office is making to the process.

We reported last weekend that McDonnell (R) will require the offenders to submit a letter to the governor outlining their contributions to society since their release, turning a nearly automatic process into a more subjective one that some say might prevent poor, less-educated or minority residents from being allowed to vote. McDonnell said he is working on revamping the system so felons can have a decision on whether their rights will be restored within 90 days.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 14, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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His hood is off, real face exposed. They are trying to back track but everyone now sees him for who he is -- just another KKK hack trying to restore jim crow's laws of the south.

Posted by: hadelaide | April 14, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, McDonnel is coming off as another Bush. Can't tell if he is lying or incompetent?

Posted by: chucky-el | April 14, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm a native Virginian and resident. I voted for Deeds. Ya'll got what you asked for.

Posted by: Rich393 | April 14, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Translation: A "well-meaning staffer" will be found to fall on his or her sword should anyone decide to look further into this improbable "mistake."

Posted by: sonny2 | April 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

And I bet there are more than a few people out there that believe this BS.
Why is it always, BLAME IT ON SOMEONE ELSE.

Posted by: racerdoc | April 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. This is the same practice that Kaine and Warner used. McDonnell is trying to streamline the process from 6-12 months to 90 days. What's with you people?

Posted by: sclarkbyrdparkcourt | April 14, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Why is this article still posted but the PG County student beating is not? IS this really that important? Looks like bias again.

Posted by: melador | April 14, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

melador, guess your brain is filled with tea. There is a story about the PG County student beating -- the FBI is now investigating. Of course, when gopers screw up you folks look for diversions. Never can accept responsibility for faux pas.

Posted by: hadelaide | April 14, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

This McDonnell governor has made so many "errors" since coming into office -- from April Confederate History Month originally cleansed of slavery to this Jim Crow attempt to limit voting by making essay writers out of former prisoners -- one wonders when we can flunk him out of the governorship. He's running at about a D- right now. Pretty dumb.

Posted by: Poleman | April 14, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone want felons going to church?

To it for more symbolic cannibalism?

Is it to increase their superstitions?

Posted by: kenk3 | April 14, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I heard a huge number of Virginians voted for McDoof in error. All kinds of errors happening down Richmond way.

Posted by: hoser3 | April 14, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Virginia is for Errors.

Posted by: hoser3 | April 14, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Statejacking- a practice perfected by Teabaggers which results in the likes of McDonnell and AG Coochie-Coochie-Coo.

Posted by: hoser3 | April 14, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

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