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June 15, 2012 (WHSV.com )

Restoring Voting Rights to Formerly Incarcerated People

According to WHSV.com in Harrisonburg, Virginia, once a person is convicted of a felony, many civil rights are taken away, including the right to vote.  In Virginia, those rights aren’t automatically restored even after a sentence is served.

"They can't get it back unless they do a lot of paperwork," said Beverly Thompson, a volunteer with the Augusta County Corrections Center, who tries to help formerly incarcerated people regain their voting rights. "It makes me think of voter suppression and I don't say that word lightly.”
 
According to The Sentencing Project, an advocacy organization that promotes reforms in sentencing policy and alternatives to incarceration, 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws against convicted felons.
Nearly 378,000 have lost their right to vote in Virginia--almost seven percent of the population.

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Felony Disenfranchisement