Northam announces civil rights restored to thousands of Virginians

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Governor Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that during the year he has been in office, the civil rights of 10,992 Virginians previously convicted of a felony have been restored.

These civil rights include the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office and become a notary public.

“I believe in second chances and making our Commonwealth more open and accessible to all,” said Northam. “Virginians who have repaid their debts should be able to return to society, get a good job and participate in our democracy.”

Reforms have been made to the restoration of rights process over the last six years. Governor Robert McDonnell streamlined the process for non-violent felons.

Governor Terry McAuliffe built upon McDonnell’s initiative and eliminated the waiting period and the prerequisite for court costs and fees to be paid prior to having one’s rights restored.

When exiting office, he addressed the significant backlog of individuals who met his criteria for rights restoration by restoring the rights of over 173,000 Virginians. Northam has continued these criteria and processes.

The rights restoration does not include that of firearm possession. Individuals seeking to have their gun rights restored must petition the court.

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