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Why Virginia Organizing marched to the Governor's Mansion

Posted at 12:51 PM, Nov 05, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Organizing led a march from Saint Paul's Episcopal Church to the Governor's Mansion on Saturday morning to protest Governor Youngkin's policy change regarding the restoration of voting rights.

It comes after governor Glenn Youngkin's administration changed the policy in march from the streamlined, nearly automatic process established by past governors.

Now, returning citizens must apply to have their voting rights restored through the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office.

After they apply, officials say each application will be considered on an individual basis, according to the law.

Voting right advocates and the Virginia NAACP have voiced concerns that there is no clear criteria for the approval of these rights.

Virginia Organizing member Darnell Coleman had his voting rights restored in 2019 and now he's fighting to ensure others have a voice.

"Everybody needs a voice in their community," he said. "Everybody needs to be able to speak for themselves when it comes to what's going on in the country. And in their own communities."

The group was also protesting the removal of around 3400 eligible voters from the rolls, originally estimated at 275.

"We can't hope that somebody else is going to speak our voice, we need to be able to speak our voice and let people know what we want. And the only way can be can do that is through our vote."

Younkgin's administration says this was a data set error within the Virginia Department of Elections, which wrongly classified probation violations as new felonies.

The governor has ordered the Office of the Inspector General to investigate the problems.

Youngkin says once identified, each voter incorrectly removed from the voter rolls will be contacted and will be eligible to vote.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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