My latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday.
It is impossible to talk about voting rights in the modern era without mentioning the efforts of the late Norfolk senator, Yvonne Miller. I spent some time looking back through legislation to discover when the Senator first proposed it. I was only able to go back as far as 1994 using the Legislative Information System. Others have located information on the constitutional amendment rejected by the voters in 1982. (I’ve got to figure out where to find, online, the earlier actions of the General Assembly. Any hints would be appreciated.)
I typically write my columns in the early hours of the morning on the day before it is published. I try to be as timely as possible, but also not to write about something that has been beaten to death – unless I think I have a different take on it. As is my custom, I scan various sources before I actually start writing. Running across an early article about the governor’s press conference, scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, made me immediately think of Senator Miller.
It seems I wasn’t alone in thinking of her. After I had finished writing and submitting my column, I saw numerous tweets, posts and articles referencing her. One of the best:
The late Norfolk Sen. Yvonne Miller, a consistent advocate for rights restoration, would have welcomed Wednesday’s news, said Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton.
“Governor, I would say on behalf of Sen. Miller, ‘Thank you, gorgeous,’ ” said Locke, reciting one of Miller’s common refrains.
I applaud Gov. McDonnell for his efforts in this area. Estimates are that as many as 100,000 may be eligible for voting rights restoration. But the legislature still needs to act. Let’s hope those on the House P&E Committee start to see the light.
My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot.Follow @vpaige