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Virginia: "Governor Warner -- tear down this wall"

The headline is my reaction after reading Spencer Overton's post that begins: My understanding is Virginia Governor Mark Warner may run for president. On most fronts (including his "Forward Together" blog), he seems like an attractive candidate.

I have one concern. I hope Governor Warner restores voting rights to 243,000 disenfranchised Americans before his term ends on January 14, 2006.

Virginia is one of only four states that disenfranchise all former offenders for life, even after they complete their sentences (the other three are Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky). These four states along with Armenia are the only democracies in the world that disenfranchise all former offenders for life. 80% of Americans believe that those who have served their time should be allowed to vote.

As a result, 243,000 Americans in Virginia—about 5% of the voting age population-have completed all terms of their sentences but can’t vote. African Americans make up 20% of Virginia’s population, and about 52% of those disenfranchised. Sixteen percent of all adult African Americans in Virginia (including 25% of black males) cannot vote due to a felony conviction. -- Gov. Mark Warner & 243,000 Disenfranchised Americans

And, for the neo-Confederates, Spencer has illustrated his post with the Confederate Battle Flag.

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