Deadline approaches to restore voting rights ahead of Election Day

Deadline approaches to restore voting rights ahead of Election Day
Voter Registration stock image.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -Any Virginian with a felony looking to get their voting rights restored simply needs to go to a website and fill out a form. However, time is running out for anyone looking to get their rights restored ahead of November’s Election Day.

The first step for any Virginian looking to get their voting rights restored is to check to see if that’s already happened. You can do so by visiting this link.

“Once you enter your name, date of birth, and last four of your Social Security number, you’ll be able to check to see if your rights have been restored,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson said.

If not, simply check “request your rights be restored” to begin the process.

“Sometimes there’s a little bit of a delay in responding back to people just because we’ve got staff working from home and sometimes in the office, but we’re still getting those rights restored on a regular basis,” Thomasson said.

In Virginia, the governor sets the eligibility criteria and has the sole discretion to restore rights, but there are criteria that need to be met. Outstanding court costs or fees and fines will not prohibit you from having your rights restored.

“You need to no longer be on any supervision. So released from incarceration and released from any period of active supervision, that’s probation or parole,” Thomasson said.

The process has not always been this easy.

“When I had to apply for my rights, I had to do the 13-page application,” Harold Folley said.

Folley is a community organizer at the Charlottesville-based Legal Aid Justice Center who worked for years helping people get their rights restored through the non-partisan Virginia Organizing.

“The restoration of rights, or the rights that’s being taken away from people, are affecting Black and brown people more than any other race,” Folley said.

Once your voting rights are restored, there is one more step you’ll need to take before heading to the polls: “Go to the registration office, call the voter registration office and register to vote,” Folley said.

Anyone wanting to get their rights restored needs to contact the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office via the online form by September 23.

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