Kaine: Most felons already write letters for civil rights restoration
Former Virginia governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appears to support a proposal by his Republican successor, Bob McDonnell, to require nonviolent felons to write a letter to have their voting rights restored.
"Frankly, everyone wrote an essay because they wrote a letter asking for their rights to be restored, and most often in those letters they'd talk about what they had learned," Kaine said in an interview last night with CBS 6 TV in Richmond.
Kaine's statement is surprising because most Democrats in the state, including the Democratic Party of Virginia, the Democratic leaders in the General Assembly and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, issued scathing statements in recent days.
When Kaine was governor, felons convicted of nonviolent crimes were able to apply to have their voting rights restored by filling out a one-page form with information about their arrest and conviction. McDonnell wants to require offenders to submit a letter to him 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.
Updated: DNC spokesman Alec Gerlach sent us a statement. "Republicans are mischaracterizing the Governor's position. Governor Kaine restored significantly more voting rights than any Governor in Virginia's history, and his position on the restoration of voting rights has always been clear. Non-violent felons who've repaid their debts to society and are living peaceably in their communities ought to have their rights restored--not be subject to an essay contest."
April 13, 2010; 2:21 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine
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