As elections near, Revive My Vote helps those with past felony convictions get voting rights restored

Local News

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Election Day is less than a month away, and local law students want to remind convicted felons they still have the chance to get their rights restored.

Revive My Vote was started by students and faculty at William & Mary Law School in 2013.

Since then, they’ve helped those who have had their rights stripped away through the restoration process.

Allen Coon, the public relations chair for Revive My Vote, says many of the student volunteers help with the organization because they feel they are giving back to Williamsburg and the state.

“I think voting is sacred. The right to vote is our civic life line in a democracy. It’s as important for the right to life. If you’re cut off from being able to engage with your fellow citizens, to be able to have a say in how the government is formed, I think that’s a gross injustice. If there’s a way for us to help you and re-engage in the community and have your voice heard, I think our mission is incredibly important and valuable to the community,” he said.

Coon says restoration of rights does not just included getting the right to vote. It also includes being able to serve on a jury, hold elected office, or be a notary public.

The organization has a hotline where people call in for free. Students then help them through the process of checking their eligibility status.

Coon says it takes a couple of weeks to get eligible names into a database, which then goes to the governor.

The governor must then approve the rights restoration and the state will contact the person once it has been restored, Coon said.

He hopes that people take advantage of their help, which they do with confidentially, will give people a second chance. 

“Just because you’ve been in jail or prison, it doesn’t mean you stop being a citizen. It doesn’t mean your rights every really cease to exist or you stopped mattering to this community. If you’re an ex-felon who has finished their probation and supervision that’s required post-conviction, we want you to be registered and want to restore your rights. Your voice matters just as much as anyone else’s,” he said.

Those who’d like to reach out to Revive My Vote can visit their website or give them a call at 844-932-8683.

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