Rights Restoration Change Concerns Voter Registrar - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Rights Restoration Change Concerns Voter Registrar

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Voter registrars are reacting to the governor's plan to streamline the process that restores the voting rights of convicted felons.

After last week's announcement, Albemarle County Registrar Jake Washburne says he has implementation concerns.

Governor McDonnell announced last week he's getting rid of the waiting period and application process required to restore a non-violent felon's voting rights. It's a big policy change, and Washburne says his office is ready to do its part. But he says some big questions still remain.

According to Washburne, right now the state police database needs a massive overhaul to help registrars confirm the voting status of convicted felons, as more people get back their right to vote.

In an email to the State Board of Elections last week, Washburne says he asked for more guidance on how to move forward.

"I'm hoping that they'll be able to implement this with a, not just a mass restoration of rights, but with a mass update of the database. We don't want to deny anybody a voter registration application when they're entitled to be registered; it's just we need to be sure," Washburne said.

Washburne says the State Board of Elections is aware of his - and others' - concerns.

He worries that, by getting rid of the application process, it could be difficult to track down felons who have had their rights restored. What it comes down to, he says, is more consistent record-keeping.

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