RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — A 47-year-old Richmond woman voted for the very first time Tuesday. Deborah Bethea lost her right to vote 23 years ago after a felony conviction.
“I was with the wrong people,” Deborah Bethea told 8News. She completed her sentence in 2004.
“When election came up or when everyone was talking about different things in the county and elsewhere, I didn’t pay much attention because it didn’t matter to me,” she said.
Bethea says Governor McAuliffe’s executive order restoring the rights of felons changed the way she thought about elections.
“The governor restored rights back in April, but then things had to be done over through the supreme court,” Bethea said.
Bethea says the legal proceedings following the governor’s initial order were a little discouraging.
“When I found that out I was like, ‘OK, I can’t vote this year,’ but when they changed it in July and I got my documents for voting, I was very excited again,” Bethea said.
Betcaststed her first-ever vote at Belmont Golf Course.
“I went around 11:30,” she said. “I was in and out in five minutes and it wasn’t crowded. It felt good. It felt good. It really did that I was finally able to vote.”