Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that he will shrink the time violent felons must wait to seek reinstatement of their voting rights and will remove some offenses from that list. The policy slated to take effect April 21 comes on top of years of work to streamline the process, and aims to make the system easier to understand and to allow more felons to petition the state more quickly. In a series of changes to the state's restoration of rights process, McAuliffe wants to collapse the application waiting period from five to three years for people convicted of violent felonies and others that require a waiting period, and to remove drug offenses from that list.
Disenfranchisement of the formerly incarcerated is unnecessary, unjust and counterproductive, Attorney General Eric Holder told an audience at the Georgetown University Law Center on Tuesday. "At worst, these laws, with their disparate impact on minority communities, echo policies enacted during a deeply troubled period in America's past -- a time of post-Civil War discrimination," Holder said. "And they have their roots in centuries-old conceptions of justice that were too often based on exclusion, animus and fear."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) supports restoring voting rights for convicted felons who have completed their sentences, the Courier-Journal reported Monday. Speaking at Louisville's Plymouth Community Renewal Center, Paul said he would push for changes to legislation to make it easier for felons to restore their right to vote and own firearms upon completing their sentences. Under current Kentucky law, felons must petition the governor in order to regain these rights.