October 27, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Advocates for restoring the voting rights of Virginia felons are praising the steps Gov. Bob McDonnell has taken but say an impediment remains: insurmountable fines and court costs.
McDonnell has eliminated a two-year waiting period and streamlined the process to restore the voting rights of more than 6,800 Virginians - more than any previous administration.
But nonviolent felons still must pay all court-imposed costs before they can register to vote. Edgardo Cores of the Advancement Project says that's proving to be an impossible hurdle for people with hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines and restitution to pay off.
He says voting is a fundamental right, and there shouldn't be financial barriers for people trying to restore it.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin says the administration is open to ideas for improving the process.