Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell made some gains in their recent quest to put the state on a path to restoring the right to vote to non-violent convicted felons who have served their sentences. But the General Assembly — actually, a single subcommittee in the House of Delegates — killed the effort to begin to amend the Virginia constitution to allow for voter rights restoration. As of now, the state constitution forever bars convicted felons of the right to vote unless the governor grants them a waiver. This week, Cuccinelli announced the creation of a bipartisan “Attorney General’s Rights Restoration Advisory Committee” to examine what alternatives may be available within the framework of the state’s constitution to better restore voting rights to nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences. “Many of those who helped found Virginia came to the New World for a second chance,” Cuccinelli proclaimed in a press release. “Forgiveness and redemption are fundamental values of all great religions and all great societies.”
He added: “There are certainly those who have forfeited their right to any such mercy by their violent and heinous deeds. But there are others who may deserve a second chance under the right circumstances. This is a value I believe speaks to the best in our commonwealth and our country.”
Allowing someone who has served their debt to society to vote, he said, “benefits society as a whole by potentially reducing recidivism.”
McDonnell has greatly streamlined the process for granting some ex-cons the right to vote — restoring voting rights to more people than the two Democratic governors before him.
But Cuccinelli is concerned that that such streamlining might not receive the same “priority in future administrations.”
Despite the governor’s efforts, only a tiny fraction of the state’s convicted felons have had their voting rights restored.
Full Article: Crime & Legal Issues Notebook – dailypress.com.