Civic and social organizations are teaming with Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to try to add thousands of nonviolent offenders to the voting rolls in time for the November election. The felons also would get their rights back to sit on a jury and hold public office. Virginia currently is one of only 2 states to permanently disenfranchise those with a criminal conviction. Groups like the NAACP, the ACLU, Democracy South and the Virginia Voter Restoration Project have taken out newspaper ads, spread the word through churches and gone door to door, urging felons to apply to Kaine to restore their voting rights. The effort has earned criticism from the right. “I don’ t know a lot of young Republicans who end up being felons,” said Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). “Clearly the groups that are soliciting these felons to get their rights restored are predisposed to be in support of Obama, and I am sure this registration effort is designed to help their candidate.” Read more.

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