Governor McDonnell will present his two-year budget proposal today to House and Senate money committees as the General Assembly prepares for next year’s session. Many lawmakers are also pre-filing legislation for consideration, and Delegate Greg Habeeb wants to see changes in convicted felons’ voting rights. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones.
[audio:http://wfirnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/12-19-Felon-Voting-Wrap1-WEB1.mp3|titles=12-19 Felon Voting Wrap1-WEB]
Virginia has one of the most restrictive laws in country on restoring convicted felons’ voting rights. Most states make restoration automatic in most cases, and Habeeb says Virginia should join that number.
Not all convicted felons would qualify: violent, drug-related, or voter fraud felons would not be be included. But the rest would no longer have to wait two to five years, then go through an application process. Several governors have taken steps in recent years to accelerate and simplify the current application process. Habeeb says that’s a good step — but Virginia should now go one step farther.
Passage is hardly assured: similar efforts have died in past General Assembly sessions, often in a House of Delegates subcommittee.