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Statewide ‘Justice Tour’ kicks off to help get voting rights restored to formerly incarcerated citizens

Posted at 11:11 PM, Aug 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-18 23:32:16-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A couple of organizers are aiming to remind over 450,000 citizens they have a chance to cast a ballot despite their past criminal history.

Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD) and Bridging the Gap, a reentry support organization for the formerly incarcerated, are teaming up to help those individuals.

Tuesday night, they kicked off a statewide Mobile Justice Tour at Richmond East End Library. They want to educate returning citizens how to get their voting right restored.

Bridging the Gap founder Richard Walker

Bridging the Gap founder Richard Walker

The first step is to fill out a Restoration of Rights application with the Secretary of Commonwealth's Office for the quickest response according to Bridging the Gap founder Richard Walker. " From that point of getting an understand of getting your rights restored could be anywhere from 45-60 days," said Walker.

Raheeem Muhammad has been waiting a bit longer. He submitted his application six months ago. Muhammad said "once someone has paid their debt to society, and they come out and contribute, and they pay taxes, and they live a productive life, they should have a right to vote, absolutely!"

Once an individual's rights are restored they can do more than vote: they can also become a public notary, and even run for office in the future.

The last day to register to vote for the upcoming November elections is October 13th.