Ex-city councilwoman still waiting for voter registration card

Posted at 7:56 PM, Oct 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-05 19:56:20-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Former Richmond City Councilwoman Gwen Hedgepeth turned in her voter registration paperwork over a month ago and it still hasn't been processed.

"Regardless of what the reason is, it's a serious problem,” said Hedgepeth. “I was told at the time that I would probably get my voter registration card within seven to ten days.”

For the average voter, the delay in process may not cause panic. For Hedgepeth this registration experience means something more meaningful.

The former city leader served time in federal prison after a 2004 bribery conviction tied to her position in office. Governor Bob McDonnell restored Hedgepeth’s right to vote on Aug. 31 and by Sept. 3 she had submitted her application to register.

"I've called a few times about my status and my card," Hedgepeth said inside the registrar’s office Friday as she inquired about her status.

She was told she was still inactive and her application had still not been processed.

Richmond Registrar Kirk Showalter explain by phone that her office is being flooded with voter applications with just one month before the election and that it’s possible Hedgepeth’s application is simply stuck to another one or filed.

Showalter claimed there’s nothing intentional about the delay, that her office is simply processing a large volume of paperwork. Showalter claims she does plan to process and approve Hedgepeth, just hasn't worked on her application yet. Hedgepeth claims for felons this process means a lot.

"Once we regain our rights that should be an expedient process," said Hedgepeth.

Election law experts say it’s common for registrars to be overwhelmed this time in the election season.

"It's important to have everyone registered if they're eligible," said attorney Tony Troy.