Governor Terry McAuliffe is continuing efforts to restore felons' rights. Friday, he announced violent felons can apply for rights restoration after three years instead of five - and people with drug-related offenses don't have to wait at all.
During a visit to the University of Virginia Friday, Attorney General Mark Herring said he agrees with the governor's move and thinks even more needs to be done for nonviolent criminals.
"I think we should be protecting people's voting rights, not trying to take them away,” Herring said. “I have supported restoring, having automatic restoration of rights for nonviolent felons. If they have, if they're nonviolent felons, they've paid their debt to society."
Herring says to take this next step toward automatic restoration, the state constitution will have to be amended, which requires it to pass through congressional approval.
The changes made Friday build on former Governor Bob McDonnell's efforts to streamline the process. McDonnell's administration restored the civil rights of more than 8,000 felons, nearly twice as many as any previous administration.
McAuliffe says his administration already has restored the rights of more than 800 Virginians in his first three months in office.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.