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Calling Virginia's Ex-Felons

PHOTO: There are looming questions about how ex-felons will be registered to vote in Virginia, and whether they'll be able to cast their ballots this fall.
PHOTO: There are looming questions about how ex-felons will be registered to vote in Virginia, and whether they'll be able to cast their ballots this fall.
June 21, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. – Calling Virginia's ex-felons!

Now that Gov. Bob McDonnell has expanded voting rights to non-violent offenders who have served their time, the challenge will be finding and registering them.

"The problem is that, especially for folks that have been released and served their time years ago, it's going to be really hard to identify where they are now,” says Tram Nguyen, associate director of the voting rights group Virginia New Majority. “If they are still in the state, if they've left the state."

Nguyen says there should be an effort to find the estimated 100,000 ex-felons in Virginia who are eligible to vote.

She says the governor's office is still working out the reinstatement requirements, but ex-felons will need to get a letter from the governor and provide basic information to state officials before they get the OK to vote.

"Some identifying information,” Nguyen explains, “so they could do a cross reference to make sure that you know, you have no pending felony convictions, or anything like that, and you paid your restitution."

Nguyen is optimistic an efficient system will be in place in time for this fall's election.


Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA