Advisory committee appointed to look at Virginia's Constitution

POSTED: 10:19 PM Mar 12 2013   UPDATED: 10:55 AM Mar 12 2013

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has appointed an advisory committee to determine if the Virginia Constitution really allows only the governor to restore felons' voting rights.

Legislative proposals to automatically restore felons' rights have failed repeatedly, most recently this year. Those efforts have focused on amending the constitution, which says felons cannot vote unless their civil rights have been restored by the governor "or other appropriate authority.

The seven-member committee named March 13, 2013 will examine whether the phrase "other appropriate authority" means the process can be changed without amending the constitution.

Cuccinelli and Gov. Bob McDonnell, both Republicans, backed this year's proposal to automatically restore nonviolent felons' rights.

McDonnell has streamlined the process and has restored more felons' rights than any previous administration.