Restored voters still need to register

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Lunenburg County Electoral Board wants those who had their voting rights restored to know that they still have to register to participate in an election.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored 206,000 felons the right to vote, and Donna Dagner, chairman of the county’s electoral board, wants those in Lunenburg to know that once they serve their time and pay their fine, they can go to their county registrar’s office and register to vote for the upcoming presidential election.

The new voter application consists of only six questions and a signature, Dagner said.

The application is also online and takes about 5-7 minutes to complete, she said.

In the past, a felon had to complete a 13-page notarized application to the governor and pay all fines and accumulated penalties, Dagner said.

Dagner said officials are trying to clear up misconception the felons may have about what all needs to be done before being able to vote.

“Virginia felons still think there is some other paperwork needed and it is not,” Dagner said. “They only have to complete a Virginia Voter Registration Application.”

The last day to register to vote in the presidential election is Oct. 17, she said.

“For those who have committed a felony, the registrar will run the last four digits of the applicant’s Social Security number, date of birth and full name,” Dagner said. “It will reflect if the applicant has fulfilled the qualifications.”

In announcing his decision to restore their rights, McAuliffe stated that “restoring thousands of Virginians their voting rights, their civil rights and really their human dignity was long overdue.”

Dagner said Lunenburg has had “10-15 very enthusiastic applicants to come forth and apply.”

“Several were voters who lost their rights at a very young age and are now senior citizens and are excited to have their human dignity restored,” she said.

Other states have taken similar steps, and Dagner is quick to note that “each state approaches to felons’ restoration rights vary tremendously.”

Virginia is not publishing a list of felons, so there is no way to target those who are affected by restoration.

“The best outreach effort is educating and sharing this information with all,” Dagner said. “I would think both parties would aggressively pursue this effort.”