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McDonnell renews call to restore felons’ rights

(AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell won’t be around to see it through, but he wants Virginia lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment automatically restoring felons’ voting rights.

McDonnell said in his final State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday night that his streamlined process has resulted in more than 8,000 felons regaining their civil rights after serving their sentences. That’s nearly twice as many as any previous administration. However, he said restoration of rights should not be left to the arbitrary judgment but should be a permanent part of the law.

In last year’s State of the Commonwealth speech, the Republican surprised many lawmakers by asking them to support a felons’ rights constitutional amendment. The proposal went nowhere.

McDonnell renewed his request Wednesday night, calling automatic restoration “an important step for justice.”

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