Stan can't vote: 'Rights have been restored but not to me'

Posted at 9:09 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 00:17:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Stan Craddock is ready to turn a page. The Henrico man, who served prison time for crimes like breaking and entering, robbery, and assault, doesn't mince words about his past.

“I’m not accepted by many people because of my past but I’m cool with that,” Stan said. “When you get locked up as a young person, you’re either going to learn what is right or what is wrong.”

His 20 years in jail and prison were crushing.

“I didn’t say 1991. 1992. 1993. I didn’t say those things," he said. "I just looked at it as one long day. The longest day I ever had."

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Released five years ago, the 58-year-old man is remaking himself.

“I had a desire to do right, but I didn’t know how to do right,” Stan said. “I am still trying to re-socialize in society.”

He is working full-time as a facilities manager at an apartment complex in Henrico.

Stan enjoys being a productive citizen.

He also wanted to cast a ballot this election.

This would be the first time he voted in nearly 30 years.

He applied online to have his rights restored. But instead of exercising civil rights, Stan will need to exercise patience.

“Rights have been restored but not to me,” he said.

When Stan registered to vote last week, he was given the bad news.

He is still trying to figure out why.

“They said because the governor hadn’t restored my rights back,” Stan said. “I was looking forward to it.”

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He says it's possible the right paperwork wasn’t filled out or he didn’t apply correctly.

“I was ashamed to tell people. I was ashamed to tell people,” he said.

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, anyone convicted of a felony automatically loses his or her civil rights and the Constitution of Virginia gives the governor the sole discretion to restore rights.

David Coogan feels for his friend.

“I met Stan in Jail. Richmond City Jail when I was teaching this writing workshop,” David said.

The VCU English teacher encouraged Stan and nine other inmates to pen “Writing Our Way Out.” The memoir details life on the inside and transitioning to freedom.

Dave swells with pride knowing Stan desires to count.

“I think it is remarkable that he wants to do that when so many people don’t care,” Dave said.

While he physically won’t be voting in this election, Stan said he still can do his part as an American.

“Well I’m going to put people in my car and take them to vote," he said. "Whoever they choose to vote for that is on them. But because I can’t vote I still want to assist people."

The former inmate said he learned the hard way how priceless the right to vote really is.

“I wanted the experience of voting. I’m going to vote. It is just a matter of time. It’s just a matter of time,” Stan said. “I’m going to vote for somebody. I’m going to vote for somebody.”

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