Rights Restoration Clinic To Help Virginians Take Back Their Vote


September 11, 2013

CONTACT: Cynthia Gordy, 718-755-4340 or cgordy@advancementproject.org



Galax Event This Weekend Provides Legal Assistance for People with Felony Convictions

(Washington) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell took a historic step this year by simplifying the civil rights restoration process for people with felony convictions. Now there are two ways for Virginians to get their right to vote back — an automatic registration process for those with “non-violent” convictions, and a five-year application process for those with convictions that qualify as “violent.” The legal procedures for both can be complicated, and many impacted people don’t quite know where to start.

Meanwhile, with Virginia’s gubernatorial election coming up this November, advocates across the state are making a big push to restore the rights of as many people as possible in time. One of these advocates is Michael Edwards, founder and director of Secure Organization Building Educational Recovery, Inc. (SOBER), a nonprofit Christian fellowship home in Galax, Virginia, for men and women recovering from addiction. This Saturday, SOBER is providing a civil rights restoration clinic to give individuals the information they need to begin the re-enfranchisement process. With one-on-one support from legal experts, this free clinic will help people learn:

  • Eligibility for getting their right to vote restored
  • How to register for the new automatic process
  • Which application forms to complete and how
  • What happens after paperwork is completed

Edwards knows the value of getting one’s right to vote back, having gone through the process himself. Convicted of marijuana distribution in 1970, he served eight years in prison. After applying four times over the years, and dedicating his life to helping others in his community, he finally got his rights restored in 2011 by Gov. McDonnell. Edwards’ rights restoration clinic will be held:

Saturday, September 14

SOBER Fellowship Home

1646 Pipers Gap, Galax VA 24333

2:00pm – 4:00pm

For more information on the clinic, or for interviews with Michael Edwards, please contact Cynthia Gordy at cgordy@advancementproject.org or 718-755-4340.


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