Many Virginians with a felony may have their right to vote restored and not know it

Even if the bill passes the General Assembly, it wouldn't go into effect immediately. | Credit:...
Even if the bill passes the General Assembly, it wouldn't go into effect immediately. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Feb. 27, 2020 at 9:45 PM EST
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Many people in Virginia will head to the polls in just days, but anyone with a prior conviction may be staying home, not realizing their right to vote is now restored.

Anyone with a felony who has served their time and is off probation and parole can get their voting rights restored.

“They go to

and it will be very easy, it will prompt a couple of questions,” Virginia Organizing Volunteer Susan Perry says.

Virginia Organizing is a statewide organization committed to a variety of causes. In Charlottesville, that includes the restoration rights of people with a felony.

“What’s happen now is many people have gotten their rights restored who don’t know it, so what we do is check to see if they’ve gotten it, and if not, we put in the paperwork,” Perry says.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth gives priority consideration to those who request restoration of their civil rights and that process takes seconds to begin. There is also a phone number people can call.

“It can be tricky to use the website because it’s based on your original arrest record so if you’ve been married and divorced as a woman and you’ve changed your name or you used an alias back then, or there’s a typo in your record,” Charlottesville Voter Registrar Jamie Virostko says.

After a person has their rights restored, they will need to get registered to vote. They also need to make sure they have a voter ID, which can be printed free of charge at any voter registration office in the state.