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State Lawmakers Want Changes to the Constitution Over Felon Voting Rights

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Per Virginia’s constitution, any felon -- violent and nonviolent -- can’t vote unless their rights are restored by the Governor. It’s been the subject of a summer’s-long court battle that finally ended this week. However, the conversation over changes to Virginia’s laws on the matter is just getting started.

Listen carefully, here are three different proposals now on the table:

Delegate Marcus Simon, a democrat from Fairfax, wants to change the state constitution so felons don’t lose their voting rights in the first place.

Delegate Greg Habeeb, a republican from Salem, has a less drastic suggestion. He would automatically restore both voting AND gun-owning rights to nonviolent felons after they’ve served their time.

Senator Tommy Norment, a republican from Williamsburg, takes things one-step farther. He proposes allowing nonviolent felons to get their rights back, but not allowing VIOLENT felons to ever vote again.

To change the constitution, an amendment needs to pass Virginia’s legislature two years in a row and then it gets put to a vote by the public.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief.
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