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Kaine Will Not Restore Rights To Felons

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By Rebecca Blatt

In one of his last orders of business before leaving office, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has announced he will not sign an executive order giving felons voting rights, disappointing some civil liberties groups.

Virginia and Kentucky are the only two states that permanently strip felons of civil rights including voting, serving on juries and holding public office. In Virginia, only the governor can restore those rights.

Kaine has restored them to more than 4,400 felons, more than any other governor. But civil rights groups had asked him to authorize a blanket restoration for nearly 300,000 more.

Kaine says he does not think an executive order should be used to rewrite the state constitution. But Kaine encouraged individuals to apply for restoration and said he would work to persuade the general assembly to change the law.

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