Participate in this event

Published 10:11 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

We hope would-be voters and other interested parties will flock to an event set for today at the East Suffolk Recreation Center.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the center, 138 S. Sixth St., is sponsored by the Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Inc., the Suffolk and Chesapeake/Virginia Beach alumnae chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. and Virginia Organizing.

In Virginia, people convicted of a felony are stripped of their civil rights and are no longer eligible to register to vote.

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However, there is a process by which they can have their rights restored once they have paid their dues. To be eligible for the restoration of rights, an individual who has been convicted of a felony must be free from any term of incarceration or supervision resulting from their felony conviction.

In 2016, Gov. Terry McAuliffe introduced an individualized process for restoration of civil rights that restored the rights of more than 152,000 Virginians who had been convicted of a felony.

Because of the large number that happened in a short span of time, Dr. Victor Archie, a member of Omega Psi Phi Inc., said some people may not be aware their rights were restored, and all they need to do is re-register. Other people may be eligible but aren’t sure how to go about the process, or they need a little help.

“Our goal is to raise awareness, reach out to all people who want to exercise their constitutional rights, and show them how to do that and get them on that path to restoration,” Archie said.

Voter registration and restoration of rights can be topics fraught with political baggage, but the truth is that all Americans should want all those eligible to be registered and voting. Our political system works best when everyone participates. The folks elected to public office, from president on down to our local City Council and School Board, should be chosen by all of those eligible, not just by some of them.

If you aren’t registered to vote, or aren’t sure if you’re registered, or you have had your civil rights revoked and you’d like them restored, make time to visit this Saturday’s event. It could be a rewarding experience come November.