Mere days after rewriting the history of the Civil War – turning it into a war for independence with nothing to do with slavery – Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has done it again. But this time, instead of denying people’s humanity, he’s "just" making it a lot harder for them to vote.
According to the Washington Post, McDonnell plans to place a significant new burden in front of non-violent felons seeking to have their voting rights restored:
McDonnell will require the offenders to submit an essay outlining their contributions to society since their release, turning a nearly automatic process into a subjective one that some say may prevent the poor and less-educated from being allowed to vote. …
McDonnell’s administration said the essay requirement is designed to put a human face on each applicant and to help staff members better understand each person’s situation.
And if you can’t read and write well? Or if you’re intimidated by things like essays? Or if you just can’t express yourself well in writing? You’re out of luck.
Even worse, restoration of the right to vote will not be based on a set of objective criteria, but will instead be based on whether McDonnell or some designated official thinks the applicant is worthy of the right to vote:
In coming weeks, McDonnell will start requiring nonviolent offenders to write a letter to him explaining the circumstances of their arrest; their efforts to get a job, seek an education and participate in church and community activities; and why they believe their rights should be restored. Some applicants already have been notified that letters will be required.
In a democracy, the right to vote should never depend on whether the governor finds you worthy of that right. It is not the place of government to make sure that only the "right" type of people vote.