Voter registrars work to clarify restored voting rights
BRISTOL, Va. - Restoring voting rights to felons in Virginia has been a roller coaster ride over the past few months.
A previous executive order issued by Governor Terry McAuliffe in April restored the rights of thousands of people. It was later struck down by the state Supreme Court. Now, nearly 13,000 are getting those rights back. As the November elections approach, there are still some voters unsure whether they'll be able to cast a ballot. "These are productive citizens that are back in society. They're going to our grocery stores, our churches. They're paying taxes. Why don't you want them to vote?" Governor McAuliffe said. Last week, his orders individually restored the rights of 13,000, as opposed to an executive order targeting a single group at once. He said, "Second chances matter in life." But now, the back and forth is creating some confusion for voters affecting voter registrars. In Bristol, Virginia, Penny Limburg says the changes impacted about 20 voters. Limburg said, "These individuals should have received by now a certificate of restoration signed by the governor, along with a voter registration form encouraging them to go ahead and register again." She said those who have had their rights restored will have to apply to vote again before the October deadline set for all voters. "It will take several weeks to have all of that information checked out, so we are going to get into a bit of a time crunch for them to register," she said. Registrars have been relying heavily on the Secretary of the Commonwealth for information about who is allowed to vote.