JLUSA leader Galen Baughman had to fight to get his voting rights restored — again
September 27, 2023
“Arlington resident Galen Baughman [Leading with Conviction™ 2015] was elated when [former Virginia Gov. Ralph] Northam reinstated his rights in 2021. Baughman had spent nine years in jail and prison after pleading guilty to nonviolent sexual misconduct involving offenses that occurred in 1997 and 2003, when he was 14 and 19.
“But when Baughman went to vote in the June primaries, he was told he’d been removed from the voter rolls — despite voting in several elections since his rights were restored. Baughman said he was initially uneasy about casting a provisional ballot. He recalled how Florida authorities arrested 20 people convicted of felonies who’d believed they were eligible to vote and attempted to in the 2020 election. He ultimately agreed to use a provisional ballot.
“The Arlington registrar’s office told Baughman he’d been taken off the voting rolls due to a new felony conviction on Aug. 4, 2022. Baughman pointed out that was the date of a hearing when he’d faced two probation violations; there had been no new felony conviction. But Baughman said the registrar, Gretchen Reinemeyer, had refused to reinstate him to the voter rolls. (The office did not respond to an email seeking comment.)
“Baughman took his case to court, where he said the matter was quickly resolved. In an order dated July 10, Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Lopez affirmed that the probation violations should not have resulted in Baughman’s removal from voter rolls and ordered the registrar to reinstate him.
“Still, Baughman remains frustrated that his provisional ballot was not counted and wary of the motives for his removal from the rolls.
“‘Everybody in our legal system knows that a technical probation violation is not a new offense,’ Baughman said. ‘And yet, somebody is counting them as a new offense. I can’t help to think that that’s deliberate.’”