In Virginia, offenders lose their right to vote, run or hold public office, serve on a jury, and serve as a notary public if convicted of a felony, violent offense, crime against a minor, or an election law. Historically, the process to have rights restored has been long and agonizing, and often acted as a deterrent to even begin the process. However, under former Governor Bob McDonnell, efforts were initiated to streamline and speed up the process for offenders’ rights to be restored after incarceration. Governor Terry McAuliffe has continued the momentum by decreasing the time violent offenders must wait to seek reinstatement of their rights. McAuliffe has also removed drug offenses from the list of violent offenses, thus drug offenders are able to begin the process even sooner. Such initiatives have enabled the McAuliffe Administration to grant over 3,300 Restoration of Rights petitions to date.
On National Voter Registration Day, Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney accepted an invitation by Clovia Lawrence of Rolling For Freedom-R4F to present Restoration of Rights grants for two former felons on the campus of Virginia Union University. It was an emotional moment as the President of VUU Dr. Claude Perkins, President Anna Gee of the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, INC, Superintendent of Richmond Schools Dr. Dana T. Bedden, college students, high school students, and the community watched history in the making on campus.
Secretary Stoney sends a charge out to former felons who received their rights saying “vote! vote! vote!” Watch the raw footage
Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney is responsible for the handling restoration of rights of former felons, extradition, and service of process. Although the secretary is the keeper of the Seal of the Commonwealth and is involved in the restorative justice process it is the Governor who grants pardons, clemency and restoration of rights, as well as, authorizing extradition.