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McDonnell blames 'political attacks' for firestorm over felons voting rights

Anita Kumar

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell blamed "political attacks by Democrats" for the outcry that resulted from his decision to add another step for nonviolent felons to have their voting rights restored.

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 today on his "Ask the Governor" radio show on WNIS in Norfolk that the media reports surrounding his proposal have been "largely inaccurate." He said the requirement is still in the draft stage, and that there is no essay, just a "simple statement."

But dozens of the felons who have submitted applications since McDonnell's inauguration received notification that letters will be required with a deadline of April 1. They were asked to write a letter explaining the circumstances of their arrest; their efforts to get a job, seek an education and participate in church and community activities; and why they believe their rights should be restored. Read the language in the notification sent from the secretary of the commonwealth's office.

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. "No governor has ever done that,'' he said.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 13, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments

I fully understand the concern about felons having their voting rights restored, IF you have such a large offender base (number of offenders living in a community). I always thought that Marion Barry's attempts to do this in DC was simply to augment the political machine he had developed (which consisted also of the large number of D.C. Government employees who "owed their jobs" to him.)

But in a normal place, this turns the whole concept of a person paying his/her debt to society on its ear. I think this is more of what we may expect from this Governor. And, like many others, I lament the seeming truth of what a comedian said, "You can't fix stupid."

Posted by: dorofacol | April 13, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Doing their time should be enough. McDonnell made the decision, it's his baby. Stop pointing fingers, Bob.

Posted by: jckdoors | April 13, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

What does participation in church activities have to do with one's voting rights?

Posted by: DaveinSilverSpring | April 13, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Another day, more crazy from Richmond.

Once you do the time, your voting rights should be restored automatically when you walk out the prison door.

Once upon a time prison was supposed to be a place of rehabilitation. This makes you wonder if the whole point is simply to disenfranchise and disempower a certain, hmm, "class" of people.

Posted by: hoos3014 | April 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect when you have an evangelical governor educated at evangelical schools?

Ignorance.

People of Virginia should be ashamed.

Posted by: kenk3 | April 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell's comments were largly inaccurate. HE IS A LIAR. What is required is more than just a "simple statement." This is a perfect example of what happens when you put right-wing zealots in positions of power. It won't be long before the Virginia State Police will be spying on organizations the Gov doesn't like, ala Robert Erlich in Maryland. They threw Erlich and his stooge of a Lt. Governor Michael Steele out on their arses after one term. We'll do the same thing to this McDonnell creep. Thanks for giving the people of Virginia a reason to vote Democratic in the next election cycle Bob the Fraud.

Posted by: sonny2 | April 13, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Do you really want felons voting?

Posted by: WhatBubble | April 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

What does participation in church activities have to do with one's voting rights?

Posted by: DaveinSilverSpring | April 13, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Right there with you Dave.

Do you really want felons voting?

Posted by: WhatBubble | April 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, if they've done their time and their name is not Charles Manson. What kind of question is that? Maybe I don't want YOU to vote WhatBubble.

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | April 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Do you really want felons voting?

Posted by: WhatBubble | April 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse
____________________________________________________________________________

It depends on the felon. There's plenty of citizens I don't want voting either. For example, I don't want Teabaggers to vote. But I don't favor making people write essays, and based on whether or not I like the essay, or any other totally subjective criterion, figuring out whether or not I'm going to let them vote. And I don't like Governors who have the state send out letter saying there's a new policy in place, and then get on the radio and lie and say the new policy is in the draft stage, and also lie about the requirements of the policy. McDonnell is sneaky. He makes moves and then tries to keep people from finding out that he's made them.

Posted by: sonny2 | April 13, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Do you really want felons voting?

Posted by: WhatBubble | April 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse
____________________________________________________________________________

It depends on the felon. There's plenty of citizens I don't want voting either. For example, I don't want Teabaggers to vote. But I don't favor making people write essays, and then, based on whether or not I like the essay, or some other totally subjective criterion, figuring out whether or not I'm going to let them vote. And I don't like Governors who have the state send out letters saying there's a new policy in place, and then get on the radio and lie and say the new policy is only in the draft stage, while at the same time also trying to conceal the requirements of the policy. McDonnell is not only dishonest, but sneaky as well.

Posted by: sonny2 | April 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Virginian's must require McDonnell to submit an essay (spelling, neatness count) outlining his contributions to society since the onset of his dementia. At the rate this guy is going (disconnect???) he will soon not be allowed to vote himself.

Posted by: hoser3 | April 13, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Do you really want felons voting?"

It is their right to vote. I don't care one iota whether they actually exercise that right.

Posted by: millionea7 | April 13, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Church is for ignorant, superstitious people.

Why would we want convicts to be religious?

Posted by: kenk3 | April 13, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The McDonnell Doctrine- Big Tancredo the whole state. Once he and the AG are through, there should be a day commemorating the states' "Before it Sank" era.

Posted by: hoser3 | April 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I swear - while he is running amok with this nonsense, he seems to be letting down the people who need him the most in his own state:


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302445.html

Posted by: Libramom | April 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

What about illegals should they vote too?

Posted by: WhatBubble | April 13, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

If you are a felon you can view the following chart to decide which states to move to:

http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000286

Posted by: WhatBubble | April 13, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

SO you are saying that NON_VIOLENT felons (those that go to jail for tax evasion, maybe a DUI or simple possession of pot, running over their Muslim neighbors goat) should NEVER EVER be allowed to vote again?

These are not the Charles Manson TYPES. And the classification of non-violent felonies can change from state to state.

These are not the worst people, and many made simple mistakes when young or foolish or desparate.

Of course, with this loser gov, all they have to write is that they found JAYSUS in jail and they are home free.

Posted by: racerdoc | April 13, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The Governor seems to be spending more time apologizing and correcting mistakes than in governing. Perhaps a shake-up of his staff and his approach to managing it is in order. Otherwise, he runs the risk of looking incompetent ("If you can't manage your staff, how are you going to manage the Commonwealth let alone even consider running the whole country?").

Posted by: jculfsr | April 14, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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