Swing Left Profile picture
Jun 11, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
In 2016 Virginia restored #votingrights to 150,000 residents who had served their time for non-violent felonies. Hear about one voter who was affected by that change from Swing Left volunteer @SueHughen (THREAD):
I knocked, I smiled, and introduced myself. Sally (not her real name) smiled back and welcomed the canvassing conversation. She was happy, sincere, and listened intently. We chatted for a bit and then I asked, ‘Are you registered to vote?’
I saw the crushing body language, the averted eyes, and slumped shoulders. She lost inches in stature, confidence and poise. She choked out her next words, ‘I cannot vote; I am a felon.’
Our Swing Left group (representing Howard County, MD) learned that Virginians convicted of a prior felony had previously been stripped of their voting rights for life. Many potential voters lost their most basic right to representation and forever gave up on politics.
In 2016, then-Gov. @TerryMcAuliffe restored voting rights to over 150,000 previously disenfranchised citizens. However, many do not know their rights have been restored or how to do that. cnn.com/2016/04/22/pol…
After acknowledging Sally’s painful confession, I pulled out my tablet and said that we could check right now to see if her rights had been restored. They hadn’t, but she filled out the correct form online to start the process of having them restored.
Since we were connecting, I ventured further and asked for a favor. I asked that she not describe herself as a ‘felon’ but to say that she had been ‘convicted of a felony’ in her past. She smiled, sat up straight, made eye contact and said...
‘You’re right. I will never describe myself that way again.’
We’ve all made mistakes in our past. Those affected by Virginia’s new policy have paid their fines and time for their felonies. They shouldn’t have to carry a label and voting consequences for the rest of their lives.
This was one small but significant doorstep conversation. It makes all the work our volunteers do worthwhile. Never think that your actions don’t matter. Never stop fighting for what is right.
Learn more about restoration of voting rights in Virginia: restore.virginia.gov #votingrights
Volunteering with Swing Left could change lives, including yours. Join us today: swingleft.org/join?source=20…

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