RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Bob McDonnell will automatically restore nonviolent felons’ civil rights on an individual basis in the final year of his term. The policy change means nonviolent felons won’t have to apply to regain their rights, including the right to vote. As soon as the administration determines that a nonviolent felon has served his sentence and doesn’t have any pending felony charges, the governor will send a letter restoring the person’s rights.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Wednesday that the change, which was first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is as far as the governor can go to expedite restoration of rights under existing Virginia law. McDonnell already has streamlined the process and has restored rights to more felons than any previous administration.