Gov. Terry McAuliffe will make all ex-felons in Virginia eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election, part of a years-long effort to restore full voting rights to former convicts. McAuliffe’s announcement in Richmond on Friday will allow an estimated 180,000 to 210,000 former felons who are not in prison or on probation or parole to register to vote this year in Virginia, a battleground state. Across the country, state laws vary on the right to vote for ex-offenders. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, about 5.85 million Americans with felony convictions (and misdemeanors in several states) are prevented from casting a ballot. The Sentencing Project estimates that one of every 13 African Americans is prohibited from voting. The map below by the ACLU shows how different states handle these rules.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.