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Felon Re-Enfranchisement Should Not Be Automatic


Apparently Virginia governor Bob McDonnell plans today to announce that he will more or less automatically restore the voting rights of “nonviolent” felons once they have fully served their sentences. But there is no reason not to consider the circumstances on a case-by-case basis before doing so – particularly by looking at the severity of the offense, how recently it was committed, and whether it was part of a series of offenses. And it makes no sense to lump all “nonviolent” offenses together, as if they were all relatively trivial. Nonviolent offenses would include being a major drug lord, treason, public corruption, voter fraud, and so forth.


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