“Once I got those rights back … I made it my duty to be here.”
No one takes the right to vote for granted after that right has been taken away. And no one, arguably, rejoices in the right to vote quite like someone who has had that right taken away and then restored again.
“Just bubbling in those little bubbles” on the ballot, says LaVaughn Williams (featured in the above video recorded by Sam Levine of HuffPost), “gave me such a sense of power and excitement. I can’t explain the feeling that I feel right now. I’m just so elated and I hope that my vote makes a difference!”
Tuesday’s election for governor in Virginia is the second chance for as many as 168,000 people like Williams. These Virginians had their voting rights taken away for life, automatically, because they were convicted of a felony — then had them restored under current Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and now have a chance to vote for his successor.
HuffPost’s Levine has been posting Twitter videos of people who’ve voted Tuesday for the first time in decades, or ever. “I never thought that I would be in this situation right now,” Williams told him. “If you had asked me two years ago, I would have said no, I would never vote. But once I got those rights back, once I got that letter stating that I could vote, I made it my duty to be here.”
Voting rights restoration has become a political issue in Virginia
“That letter” has become a hot topic in the governor’s race.
Virginia has one of the country’s harshest laws on restoring voting rights: It’s one of four states where anyone convicted of a felony is automatically barred from voting for the rest of his or her life. According to Read More Here