Hampton man has right to vote restored after felony conviction

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by Airrianee LeBeau

WVEC.com

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 16 at 8:54 PM

HAMPTON--A man is getting to vote for the first time this year at age 58.

Twenty-six years ago,  Roam Wilson spent years in prison for malicious wounding, after getting into a fight.  As a result of the felony conviction, his right to vote was revoked.

But a day before this year's voter registration deadline,  Wilson got some good news.

Roam Wilson's right to vote was restored just in time for this year's election.

"Mr. Wilson, I'd like to tell you that your rights have been restored... now you can vote." said Wilson, " I said 'Oh Lord' ".

Wilson waited 26 years to hear those words. After spending three years in prison … he wasn't allowed to vote because of his felony conviction. Even though his time was served he says transitioning back into society wasn't easy. 

"I was just feeling bad, " he said,  "Because people don't treat you the same way. But I thank God that over all these years,  I've been pressing forward."

Over the last two decades,  Wilson says he dropped bad habits and started living a more productive life. At 58, he petitioned for his right to vote to be restored.

"All these years,  I was saying I never could vote, " he said.

One day before this year's voter registration deadline ….Wilson's request was granted.

"I was overjoyed when they told me that I really tried to hold it in but that's something hard to hold in." 

Jeronda Wilson, his daughter says,  "Just for him to have a second chance at everything, it means a lot and you can tell that he's been so much more brighter since he got that phone call.

Voting this year will be a family affair for the Wilsons.  Roam hopes his vote will help put someone in office who gets people  back on their feet. 

It's a lot of people that need to be put back to work, " he says. 
 

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