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Groups Seek Automatic Restoration of Rights - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Groups Seek Automatic Restoration of Rights

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A coalition of civil rights groups and other activists wants Gov. Bob McDonnell to issue an executive order restoring the voting rights of about 350,000 felons who have completed their sentences.

In the last legislative session, McDonnell unsuccessfully pushed for a constitutional amendment to allow automatic restoration of nonviolent felons' civil rights. In Virginia, only the governor can restore those rights, which include voting, running for public office, and serving on a jury or as a notary.

But the Advancement Project and other advocacy groups say the governor can automatically restore felons' rights without a constitutional amendment. They plan to say more about their proposal Wednesday.

Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli also has appointed a panel to examine whether automatic restoration of rights is possible within the existing constitutional framework.

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