Fugitive sex offenders included in Gov. McAuliffe's push to restore felon rights

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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe reportedly included on-the-run sex offenders on his list of felons worthy of having their political rights restored, such as the right to vote and sit on a jury.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Saturday that two fugitive sex offenders with outstanding arrest warrants and active probation violation charges had their rights restored by the Democratic governor on April 22.

The governor says his order ends a lifetime disenfranchisement policy that puts Virginia at odds with many other states where felons’ rights -- such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, hold public office and notarize documents -- are restored automatically after completing sentences.

A spokesman for McAuliffe told the Times-Dispatch that fugitive data from the Virginia Department of Correction was not accounted for during the preparation of the felon restoration list, and the order was only supposed to apply to ex-offenders.

“It was just basically an oversight,” spokesman Brian Coy told the paper. “It just didn’t factor into the initial pass.”

One of the fugitives reportedly was convicted in 2004 for aggravated sexual battery of a minor, as well as five convictions for failing to register as a violent sex offender.

The second has a 2000 conviction in Kentucky for rape of a minor and violated his probation in late 2012 after he pleaded guilty to grand larceny, the Times-Dispatch reported.

The McAuliffe spokesman said the administration may explore syncing systems so that people barred from voting by new felony convictions will not show up as approved in the database. He also noted that no government list will be free from errors.

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