In the center of this crucial election season, which will come to a close on Nov. 8, a group of convicted felons in Virginia will be granted their natural born right to vote. According to the Huffington Post, roughly 67,000 convicted felons will head to the polls thanks to a new executive order that was passed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
In the case of Howell v. McAuliffe, the lawsuit attempted to prevent the governor from reinstating individual rights for over 200,000 convicted felons. In order to get those formerly incarcerated individuals their rights back, the Supreme Court ruled McAuliffe had to review each ex-felon’s case, one-by-one. In the end, 67,000 people received the notice that they should make their way to the polls next month.
Muhammad As-saddique Abdul-Rahman, a 53-year-old man who was released from prison seven years ago for armed robbery, works as a voter registration organizer following this recent news.
“As an ex-felon myself, I couldn’t vote and I didn’t feel, as a citizen I didn’t feel whole,” he said to the Huffington Post. “I was paying taxes. I had to follow laws, and I had no say in what these laws were.”
Now with his civil right back, Abdul-Rahman hopes others like him will take advantage of this opportunity. “‘It don’t count’ is one of the things they say,” he said. “And I will tell them that if it did not count, then … why don’t they want you to vote? Why don’t they just generously give it back? Why did they make it so hard?”
You can register to vote here.