In a nutshell:

Washingtonpost.com:

McAuliffe’s restoration of voting rights will apply to former nonviolent and violent offenders. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony and has completed his sentence and been released from supervised probation or parole is eligible. The new voting rights apply to felons convicted in another state and living in Virginia.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will allow more than 200,000 ex-cons in Virginia to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election, one of the biggest actions taken by a state to instantly restore voting rights.

The change applies to all felons who have completed their sentences and been released from supervised probation or parole. The Democratic governor’s decision particularly affects black residents of Virginia: 1 in 4 African Americans in the state has been permanently banned from voting because of laws restricting the rights of those with convictions.

“Once you have served your time and you’ve finished up your supervised parole. . .I want you back as a full citizen of the commonwealth,” McAuliffe said. “I want you to have a job. I want you paying taxes, and you can’t be a second-class citizen.”

The governor called the instant restoration of rights to these Virginians the natural next step to his incremental streamlining of a process that has already given 18,000 nonviolent felons their rights back. With the signing of Friday’s executive order, McAuliffe eliminated the need for an application for violent felons who had completed their sentences up to that moment.

 

Virginia Republicans howled over this decision.

Republicans were particularly outraged that the policy doesn’t take into account the violence of the crime, whether the person committed serial crimes, whether they’ve committed crimes since completing their sentence or whether they’ve paid their victims back for medical bills.

“Murder victims don’t get to sit on juries but now the man that killed them will,” said Del. Robert B. Bell (R-Albemarle), who is running for attorney general. “A murder victim won’t get to vote, but the man that killed them will.”

In reaction to criticism that the timing of the announcement helps Clinton’s campaign, McAuliffe denied that the move was politically motivated and said his administration has been working on it for six to eight months.

I have a very close friend this decision affects.  His voting rights will be restored.  In essence, his citizenship will be returned to him.  For that I am very happy.  There really is no correlation between crime and voting.  Denial of voting rights really is overkill and is just another layer of making a person pay–for the rest of his or her life.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that former Gov. Bob McDonnell had worked tirelessly restoring voting rights also.  McAuliffe just extended full rights to all who were “off paper.” (released from prison and not on supervised release or probation) What possible good does it do to have a person serve his or her time, repay the “debt to society” and be released without full citizenship?   What does voting have to do with the crime?  It has nothing to do with the crime nor does the severity of the crime have anything to do with voting.

I am almost willing to take it a step further and say that those convicted of a felony should have gun rights restored also.  Those who are going to continue being thugs and bad asses can get a gun the afternoon they are released from prison.  Illegally of course.  But we know its easy for the bad guys to get the guns.   Those who want to stay on the good side of the law are the people who have no means to protect themselves.  They can’t buy weapons.

Why not just take those people and brand them with the scarlet F?   Let’s do away with the term “felon.’  It is simply a pejorative label that hangs on someone until the day they die.  Can a person ever get a second chance?  It sure doesn’t sound like it.  Why shouldn’t a former convict sit on a jury?  That individual might have a lot more insight into the case than I would have.   Once a person has served their time, they are through.  Done.  Let’s let them get back to living their lives, integrated into society.

 

41 thoughts on “McAuliffe restores voting rights to felons

  1. Kelly_3406

    McAuliffe’s executive order made no distinction between violent and non-violent felons. Why should a violent felon be able to cancel out the victim’s vote (assuming the victim wasn’t murdered)?

    This is all about politics and delivering votes to Hillary Clinton. If she wins, McAuliffe is sure to get a plum job in her Administration.

    1. Kelly, I think Hillary and Terry are good enough friends that if he wants a job in her cabinet, he will get it just for the asking.

      I guess I am flabbergasted at your thinking on this subject. Let’s say I robbed a liquor store back in 1960 at the age of 18 and shot and killed the owner. I served 35 years for that crime in prison. I am out now. How does my crime affect my right to vote? Have I not lost 35 years of my life? When does the punishment stop? It seems to me, if I serve my entire sentence, then that’s it.

      Otherwise, why don’t we just execute everyone? What disenfranchisement does is essentially take away a person’s citizenship.

      If we are talking about cancelling votes, why should I be able to cancel yours…I, Moon-howler…not my made up felon. We all cancel each others votes.

      1. Kelly_3406

        MoonHowler wrote:
        Kelly, I think Hillary and Terry are good enough friends that if he wants a job in her cabinet, he will get it just for the asking.

        I guess I am flabbergasted at your thinking on this subject. Let’s say I robbed a liquor store back in 1960 at the age of 18 and shot and killed the owner. I served 35 years for that crime in prison.I am out now.How does my crime affect my right to vote?Have I not lost 35 years of my life?When does the punishment stop?It seems to me, if I serve my entire sentence, then that’s it.

        Otherwise, why don’t we just execute everyone? What disenfranchisement does is essentially take away a person’s citizenship.

        The last time that I checked, the liquor store owner in this hypothetical case will remain dead, even after 35 years. He will never get to vote again, nor will his family ever get to see him again.

        Given that the effects of murder on the victims are permanent, why shouldn’t some aspects of his punishment be permanent? He SHOULD be incarcerated for life. If the felon is released for some reason (other than being proven innocent), then he should remain disenfranchised, remain disqualified from serving on juries, etc.

      2. Will keeping me from voting bring him back to life?
        Sentencing is sentencing.
        Let’s take a less drastic, less permanent crime. Let’s take a drug felony. Why does voting even have anything to do with the crime? It doesn’t.

        Why are you Republicans so hell bent on keeping people from voting? For instance, why would you not want to have by-mail voting? It would save a fortune? Why would some Republican take it upon himself to verify signatures on people who applied on line to vote absentee? This is becoming an obsession.

  2. Kelly_3406

    I am not totally against restoring the rights of some felons, but there should be a legal process. It should not be automatic. Has the person been convicted and sent to prison more than once? Was the crime a violent offense? In addition to paying his debt to society, did the criminal return the ill-gotten property or otherwise make restitution to the victim? All these factors should be considered before restoring voting rights.

    The fact that McAuliffe restored voting rights to felons without considering any other factors demonstrates his executive action as the naked partisan politics that it is.

  3. Scout

    @Kelly – I think McAuliffe was pretty much assured a plum job in a Clinton administration with or without this move. He is very much a creature of the Clintons.

    McDonnell also favored voter eligibility for people who had completed their sentences. The GOP in Virginia missed a chance to make some reforms in this area when it could have at least taken credit for having a good instinct on the subject. But the prevailing GOP view these days is one of fear of voters, so the idea of expanding the voter rolls, no matter what the reason, is anathema to our bankrupt leadership.

    The idea that, having done your time and taken up a lawful lifestyle, you should be able to participate in the political process seems unassailable. But the wholesale nature of this move, coupled with its timing, at best undermine the narrative of a lofty motivation. He could have waited until after the upcoming presidential election or could have fashioned a review process that would make each convicted felon who received the right to vote feel that he/she had really accomplished something important on the return to mainstream society.

    If Hillary wins in Virginia, if Virginia’s electoral votes equal or exceed the margin of victory, and if the margin of victory in Virginia is less than 200,000, Hillary will owe our Governor much more than a night in the Lincoln Bedroom.

    1. Kelly_3406

      Scout wrote:
      @Kelly – I think McAuliffe was pretty much assured a plum job in a Clinton administration with or without this move.He is very much a creature of the Clintons.

      Good point. A plum job in a presidential administration will not materialize if Hillary loses. So this executive order is very much in his personal interest also.

      1. Who do you think is out there that is going to beat Clinton? I think that ship has already sailed.

        Do you think 200,000 new eligible voters is going to affect the presidential election? I asked my friend what percent of people of those 200,000 did he think would actually vote. He said maybe 1/4.

        I think disenfranchizing former prisoners is un-American.

  4. Steve Thomas

    I am betting this doesn’t withstand legal challenge.

    1. Scout

      @Steve Thomas

      What would be the basis of a legal challenge, Steve? It’s pretty clear he has the power to restore voting rights, isn’t it? The only issue would be whether by doing it for a whole lot of people at the same time, instead of one person at a time, he somehow strayed beyond what appear to be fairly broad stated powers.

      1. Steve Thomas

        @Scout

        Kaine explored this same action when he was governor, at the request of the ACLU. He informed them that blanket action would require a constitutional amendment, as he lacked the executive authority. Since such an amendment has not been made, it’s safe to assume this governor lacks the authority. The governor cannot make or change law.

      2. Then if what you say is correct (and I don’t think it is) then McDonald and McAuliffe have both been out of line all along.

      3. Steve Thomas

        @MoonHowler

        Moon,
        There is a process whereby a felon meeting certain conditions can petition to have their rights restored by the governor. No one is challenging the governor’s authority to grant these petitions. This is what previous governors have done. McDonnell was noted for granting more petitions than his predecessors. What Mcauliffe has done is different and exceed his executive authority. At least this is what Kaine and Warner before him each concluded. Now I ask you, if EVERY other governor before MaCauliff, both Democrat and Republican, reviewed existing law and their executive powers and concluded the could grant individual petitions, but could not grant blanket restorations…how is it this governor can?

        I suspect the governor knows he will eventually lose. But what he’ll do is play his “give to get” game. The GOP will raise hell, there will be much ink spilled, and then the “compromise”: the legislature will change the law restoring the rights of non-violent felons on completion of their sentences. Violent felons will still have to petition individually. The governor will tout his grand compromise, and will have delivered for his party, albeit not all of the original goal.

      4. I am guessing that Kaine’s will to right this wrong wasn’t as strong.

        Actually McDonald opened up a whole new avenue to restore voter rights to ex-offenders. He took a lot of crap from his party but stood by the initial cause.

        In June 2013, then-Gov. Robert McDonnell ended Virginia’s policy of the permanently disenfranchising all citizens with felony convictions. His action automated rights restoration for people completing sentences (including payment of any fines, fees, and restitution) for convictions classified as non-violent, though required that each person receive an individualized rights restoration certificate before registering to vote.

        Brennancenter.org

        Kaine and Warner left office without doing anything about it, despite being urged to do so. I guess the time wasn’t right for them.

        Bob McDonnell started the ball rolling. Good for him. I am certainly willing to give credit where credit is deserved.

        I question how you think restoration of voting rights to ex-offenders is wrong? Does it endanger us? No.
        What’s the real rub? It looks like the Republicans are going to offer up Chump for their candidate? Are you afraid he won’t get elected because of 200,000 qualified ex-offenders? You know that more than half of them won’t vote anyway.

        A little-known secret: Virginia jail and prison populations are a fairly conservative group. The free newspapers are conservative.

      5. Scout

        @Steve Thomas

        I don’t think it’s that clear, Steve. The clarity tends to run in the other direction, if one is a strict constitutionalist, I would think. The Virginia Constitution says that the Governor has the power “to remove disabilities consequent upon conviction. . . .” This is part of his larger reprieve and pardon power. This move seems well within the letter of that power. The same provision also says that the Governor, in exercising that power has “to communicate to the General Assmepbly at each regular session particulars of every case or a fine or penalty remitted and his reasons…” for so doing. 206,000 are a lot of particulars to communicate, but I imagine they’ve thought of that in the age of Excel spread sheets and the GA will get a conforming report.

        Virginia has a pretty weak executive by ancient design. But where he has an express power emanating from the state constitution, it’s hard to say that a governor wouldn’t be inclined to use it.

      6. Steve Thomas

        @Scout

        Seemed pretty clear to every governor prior to this one. I guess we’ll have to see. I’m still betting that in the end there will be a “compromise”..non-violent felons get automatic restoration, violent felons still handled by individual petition.

      7. Just out of curiosity, where does the degree of violence get factored in to whether an ex-offender should be able to vote or not?

        I still fail to see any correlation between voting and violence.

        Your sentence is longer if you are convicted of a more violent crime. That makes sense to me. But once you have served, you have served.

        Tying voters rights to this is just illogical.

      8. Steve Thomas

        @MoonHowler

        Here’s the correlation: It’s politically untenable to defend an action that restores voting rights to a murderer, rapist, child-molester. It’s easier to defend an action restoring the rights of someone who went away for drug dealing, embezzlement, grand-theft auto. McAulliff is a political animal, and political calculations figure into everything he does. So, when he grants “blanket restoration” and the GOP responds with “we agree that SOME felons should have their rights restored, upon completion of their sentences, how can the governor justify restoring the rights of murderers, kidnappers, human-trafficing rapists and child-molesters”…the average citizen will say “yeah…how can he do that”? When that happens, look for the “grand compromise” where state voting law is changed, granting auto-restoration for felons convicted of a list of non-violent crimes…while those convicted of murder, rape, and child-molestation, still have to go through the existing “case by case” process. Both sides claim a victory while telling their supporters, “its the best we could do”

      9. I don’t have a problem restoring voting rights to anyone. Voting rights have nothing to do with their crime. Why do I care if a rapist can vote? I just don’t. I hate rapists but I don’t want to not let them vote. Child molesters? I don’t care if they vote. I care if they are around kids. Now, what if they have to vote in a school? Better apply early.

        Most states have more relaxed was than Virginia. I don’t like this long arm of the law trickle effect. If you have served all your time, including probation, then its over.

        I have found the average citizen to be narrow-minded and punitive. If you just casually talk to local people, well…don’t get me started.

        I don’t know what is going to happen. I assume it will stand until a Republican governor gets in office. Then moving forward, those released will not have voting rights.

      10. This might be a go to the mat issue for me. You know why.

        Also, for the record, I wouldn’t let child molesters out of jail if I were the boss. I would always have them on an ankle bracelet if they did get out with some sort of sensor that if they looked at a child, red-hot searing pain would instantly travel to that part of them they loved the most.

        But I still don’t give a crap if they vote.

        I am not soft on crime at all and believe it or not, neither is my friend.

      11. McDonald already restored some voting rights and so did McAuliffe. There were caveats. Now there are none.

        I see no reason why group restoration can’t be done.

        I still struggle to see why punishment needs to continue once a person is off paper and had been released from prison. why voting? Why not just make the former prisoner wear a horsehair shirt? It makes about as much sense.

  5. Disenfranchisement of ex-felons, or those who have served their time and who have been released has a long racial history.

    See http://www.coopercenter.org/sites/default/files/publications/Virginia%20News%20Letter%202015%20Vol.%2091%20No%201.pdf

    Either we are a nation of laws or we aren’t. If a court convicts an individual and that individual is sentenced to a certain about of time in prison, and that time is served, along with a year of probation, then what else should be demanded of that person? If he or she has served the sentence which was mandated by the judge or jury, then that should be it.

    For the record, those sentenced after 1995 in Virginia do not get paroled early. You serve your time. Period. No early release. You serve your time, have approximately a year of supervised release and then you are “off paper.” Done.

    I simply don’t understand people who want to keep cranking out the punishment. Those who have been in prison have a difficult enough time readjusting to life after prison. You can’t just waltz in and get a job. Even those companies without a “box” on the application do a background check which labels a person, even if they have had a good interview. (the box is that rascally question that asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony)

    So where do you live, how do you eat if you don’t have a job? Every step towards re-entering society is an uphill battle with all sorts of hurdles most of us don’t have to deal with. Yet some of you want to deliver that last humiliating kick in the crotch and deny voting rights.

    Do you even know anyone who has served time in prison? Do you know anyone who has been in jail? Some fairly wonderful people who are decent human beings have been in prison. They deserve a second chance with fully restored civil rights which must include voting rights, an ear-mark of our democracy.

    1. Steve Thomas

      @MoonHowler

      Does this include restoring their gun rights? How about those who’ve been to prison 2, 3, 4 times? At what point have they demonstrated they don’t value being productive members of society? How about jury duty? While I agree that there should be a mechanism for the restoration of rights and privileges for those demonstrating rehabilitation, a.blanket “pass go, reclaim the rights you forfeited” is fraught with unintended consequences.

      1. No, it does not include gun rights. That is an entirely different issue.

        No one has explained the correlation between voting rights and recidivism. As long as we are speaking about voting rights, a blanket pass is great. I suppose if they go back to prison, no voting rights while there, although some states allow those who are incarcerated to vote absentee.

        Restoration of gun rights is another issue. I prefer to discuss that separately.
        I basically believe that once you have served your time, that’s it. My one “not so fast” would be about sex offenders. Sex offender crimes are for the most part, incurable, according to most sources. Other crimes aren’t as connected to syndromes.

        I don’t care if sex offenders vote, however. Voting has nothing to do with the crime.

      2. Steven Thomas

        @MoonHowler

        “No, it does not include gun rights. That is an entirely different issue.”

        So there are classes of civil-rights? Not that I’m saying I support auto-restoration of all civil-rights, including gun-rights, for felons who’ve completed their sentences, why shouldn’t they be automatically restored?

        What if their original crime had nothing to do with guns? What if they embezzled money, or evaded their taxes? Why shouldn’t they get their gun rights back? I fail to see the correlation between gun ownership and embezzlement or tax evasion?

      3. Even if the crime did involve guns, if you have served your time, you have served your time. The toads can get a gun by the afternoon they get out of prison. Those who plan on turning their lives around don’t and can’t and won’t.

        Is a former prisoner convicted for a crime that involved a gun more likely or less likely to repeat that behavior?

        Now, why do I not want to fight that fight? The NRA won’t pick it up and fight with it, why should I?

        As you can see, there are enough people who are howling over voting rights. Throw in gun rights and the matter just gets more explosive.

        I think ALL rights should be restored. If that person screws up again, then they screw up and go back to prison. Let’s face it, there will be a revolving door for some people. Other people, once was enough.

      4. What possible unintended consequences could be tied to voting rights?

      5. Steve Thomas

        @MoonHowler

        If you can vote, you can serve on a jury.

      6. That’s absolutely a drawback if you ask me.

        In the first place, a good defense attorney would weed out anyone they thought was unsuitable for jury duty. However, a former inmate might be an excellent in that capacity.

        There just seems to be so much “let’s continue the punishment” mentality. If you’ve done 10 years time or 20 years time, that’s a huge chunk of someone’s life.

        I want those people reintegrated back into society. I don’t like the notion of assuming those people are bad people now and forever. I prefer to think of them as people who have made mistakes or who have violated the law.

  6. Speaker Howell sounds like an angry old white man.

    “I am stunned yet not at all surprised by the governor’s action,” House Speaker William J. Howell said in a statement. “This office has always been a stepping stone to a job in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet.”

    Stunned but not surprised? What a stupid, contradictory statement. McAuliffe doesn’t need a stepping stone. I expect a cabinet position would be his for the asking. On the other hand, who would give up a governorship for a cabinet position? No one.

    I don’t know why some of the Republicans want to cling to the vestiges of old Jim Crow laws.
    Moving Virginia ahead is nothing to be ashamed of. Virginia was one of 4 states with draconian voting rights laws for ex-offenders.

    Speaking of which, even its correctional institutions program prisoners for failure. If I were in prison, I wouldn’t be Mrs. Howler. I would be called Offender Howler. Why not just call me POS Howler. That is the message “offender” sends. ‘Offender’ is not a title and should not be used as one.

  7. Steve Thomas

    “I don’t know why some of the Republicans want to cling to the vestiges of old Jim Crow laws.”

    Objection! Speaks to motive.

    IF the laws were written to say only NON-WHITE FELONS were permanently barred from voting, your playing the race-card might hold water. But, since the laws restrict ALL felons, regardless of race, the law is not discriminatory.

    But STEVE…..Blacks have a higher incarceration rate than whites! That means the laws are racist….. Really? Correlation equals causation now?

    So, if we restore the voting rights of ALL felons, the incarceration rates for blacks should decline. Correct?

    How about this: I oppose blanket restoration of voting rights, for the same reason I oppose DC statehood: A demonstrated history of irresponsibility. In the case of the felon, it is their individual conduct. They should be reviewed as individuals, when seeking to have their voting rights restored, as I have no issue with restoring the rights of someone who has demonstrated through individual action and conduct that they are rehabilitated. Black, White, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander…doesn’t matter. Individual conduct was the reason for the originial forfeiture, and it should be the means for individual restoration.

    And before you ask what does this have to do with DC statehood: DC through its repeated election of a convicted felon has demonstrated poor self-governance…I don’t think they are ready to operate as a state…and likely won’t ever be.

    1. The law was enacted as part of some fairly strident Jim Crow laws. It’s a hold over.

      Nope, I didnt say a word about a higher incarceration rate.
      If we restore voting rights, former inmates can vote. I see no cause and effect path on the horizon. Its just a part of being reintroduced into society.

      I have no real thoughts on DC statehood. It changes periodically.

      We are talking about human beings. I could understand if we were discussing voting while in prison. Some states allow it. I think Utah is one of them. But once you have paid your dues, its really time to go back to being a full-fledged citizen. When you can’t vote, you, in essence, have lost your citizenship.

    2. Scout

      @Steve Thomas

      The problem of granting statehood to the District of Columbia has little to do with that jurisdiction’s electoral choices – I can’t say that the residents of the district are that much more irresponsible than those of Virginia or parts thereof in their choices of elected officials. It has more to do with making a medium-sized city into a state with two Senators, a Governor etc. etc. Statehood is about the last option that logically comes to mind for a city of about 500,000. The obvious solution to DC’s voting and representational disabilities is to do what was done with the Virginia portion of DC when it was superseded back to Virginia. It is now Arlington County. The remainder of the District could be returned to Maryland and the Congressional districts in that state adjusted accordingly. The central government areas (the Capitol, White House, the Mall, for example) could remain under some sort of federal control.

  8. Connection to Jim Crow laws:

    NY Times:

    The history of disenfranchisement was laid out in a fascinating 2003 study by Angela Behrens, Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza. They found that state felony bans exploded in number during the late 1860s and 1870s, particularly in the wake of the Fifteenth Amendment, which ostensibly guaranteed black Americans the right to vote.

    They also found that the larger the state’s black population, the more likely the state was to pass the most stringent laws that permanently denied people convicted of crimes the right to vote.

    These bans were subsequently strengthened as the Jim Crow era began to take hold.

    The white supremacists who championed such measures were very clear on their reasons. In 1894, a white South Carolina newspaper argued that voting laws needed to be amended, lest whites be swept away at the polls by the black vote. In 1901 Alabama amended its Constitution to expand disenfranchisement to all crimes involving “moral turpitude” — a vague term that was applied to misdemeanors and even acts not punishable by law. The president of the constitutional convention argued that manipulating the ballot to exclude blacks was warranted, because they were inferior to whites and because the state needed to avert the “menace of Negro domination.”

    The official who introduced the new provision at the convention said, “The crime of wife-beating alone would disqualify 60 percent of the Negroes.” This did not mean that only black men committed spousal abuse; it meant that whites were less likely to be prosecuted for this and several other offenses that could lead to disenfranchisement.

    1. Steve Thomas

      @MoonHowler

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/434491/terry-mcauliffe-virginia-felons-right-vote-unconstitutional

      We’ll see if this survives as is. I’m still betting on the “grand compromise”. He’ll have to give or risk being blocked by the state courts, resulting in a loss in an election year. The legislature will have to give, or risk being painted as racists (I hear a “Black Votes Matter” group tuning up).

      Regardless of when the statute was implemented, or for what purpose, it’s still in the constitution, and the governor cannot make law.

      1. The National Review opinion piece seemed more about their displeasure with McAuliffe and liberals than about anything else.

        I take the history back to 1902 and it most certainly was to disenfranchise poor blacks and poor whites through any means possible.
        McGovern made a law. I guess just Democratic governors can’t make laws?

        The joke will be if it goes to court and all former inmates now get full civil rights restored the moment their parol is over. Be careful what you wish for.

        http://edu.lva.virginia.gov/online_classroom/shaping_the_constitution/doc/constitution_1902

  9. @Steve

    We allow former offenders to buy booze and beer, drive cars, marry, have children, own homes and file their own taxes.

    Those are all events that require responsible decision-making. Why are denying them something that is guaranteed to them through the constitution? Just wait until someone tries to expand the definition of servitude.

    1. Steven Thomas

      @MoonHowler

      I understand what you are saying. There are those who want “blanket restoration” and those who want “life-time forfeiture” I am in the middle here. I’d be OK with a blanket restoration for non-violent felons. Violent felons have demonstrated a higher level of anti-social behavior. They have hurt people physically, or were prepared to do so. I think they should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

      I’d also say that if they have their civil-rights restored, then all of them should be restored. You see voting as an ultimate right. I see it as a civic responsibility that should be reserved for those who cared enough about the right, to follow the laws less they lose that right.

      1. I would be more likely to say restore gun rights to those with a non-violent conviction since there is some degree of correlation. There is no correlation between voting rights and the crime.

        If it were up to me, I would restore all rights to everyone after patrol. I might even make patrol a little longer if it made folks feel better. Both voting and guns are constitutionally guaranteed rights. One might be linked to previous crimes. One is not.

  10. Remember Bob McDonnell?

    His words:

    “I believe that the commission of a crime must have a tough and just consequence…

    I also believe that once an offender has fully paid his debt to society, he deserves a second chance…

    It is a mark of good government to restore felons’ rights and provide them the opportunity to succeed and become law-abiding citizens again…

    Therefore, I am amending the criteria used to adjudicate non-violent felons applications for restoration of rights. With these changes, Virginia will have an automatic restoration of rights process…”

    Robert F. McDonnell, JD, MPP, MBA
    Governor of Virginia at the time of this quote
    Governor McDonnell’s letter outlining his felon voting policy changes
    Governor.virginia.gov
    May 29, 2013

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