Restoring some felon voting rights could impact Va. elections

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jul 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-17 00:00:37-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - Jewel Holmes' nephew hasn't had the chance to vote in an election. Her family member was convicted of a non-violent felony when he was younger, with his voting rights taken away.

Now Governor Bob McDonnell is offering a policy to restore rights of non-violent felons.

"A lot of them I believe want that second chance," said Holmes.

Those felons who are eligible were able to begin the process Monday, with potentially up to 100,000 people who could get their rights restored.

CBS 6 News wanted to know the kind of impact this could have on future elections.

"In theory it's a large block of potential new voters," said Government Watchdog, Paul Goldman.

Goldman told CBS 6's Chelsea Rarrick that he's seen campaigns that have won a race with around 6,000 votes.

"There are plenty of Virginia elections that could have been decided by a new pool of voters," said Goldman

Goldman said it's still in the early stages and it will take several election cycles for the new voters to have their voices heard. But Jewel Holmes said she's already encouraging her nephew and others to restore their voting rights.

"I feel that once you do it the first time and just get that feeling, you know it makes a difference," said Holmes.

Click on the video for the full report.