Formerly Incarcerated Man Shares Long Road To Voting Again

February 9, 2024

Article by Lisa Landrum

It took less than five minutes in front of the judge for Danny Hardy to get his voting rights back on Friday.

Hardy was last incarcerated stemming from charges in 2001, where he served about a 16-year prison sentence, according to Hardy.

After Hardy’s incarceration he spent six months in Clarksburg, West Virginia in a halfway house for court appointed rehabilitation. He was then released from the center in November 2016 and required to complete seven years of federal supervised probation, that ended on Nov. 2, 2023, according to Hardy.

“The very next day on November 3, 2023, I filed to restore my rights,” Hardy said. After proving he’d been released from his sentence, Hardy said he received a letter from the governor of Virginia that officially restored his rights on Jan. 12.

Hardy’s advice to others is to take the time to educate yourself.

When an error in the Rockingham County Voter Registrar’s office set Hardy’s process back, his heart sank, he said. His application was denied based on his felony convictions, even though he had the letter from the governor attached.

“It was just another punch in the stomach,” Hardy said. “I’m like … what’s going on?”

Hardy filed an appeal to the Harrisonburg Circuit Court on Jan. 31, 2023.

An hour after the hearing was scheduled with the circuit court, Hardy received a call that his application to vote was approved, according to Hardy.

Hardy was asked if he still wanted the court hearing to occur, since his voter registration was approved. To which Hardy said yes, because he wanted to talk to the judge, according to Hardy.

On Friday Hardy had his day in court.

“Today was the first time that I walked into circuit court and walked back out the front door,” Hardy said, after the proceedings.

As the courtroom filled with other individuals waiting to be seen that day, Hardy was the first to be called to the front to talk to the judge. Hardy admitted he was ready for court but nervous about the hearing. According to Hardy, he was so nervous his leg was shaking.

Hardy sat alone in front of Chief Judge Andrew S. Baugher and alongside Christoper Bean who represented the Commonwealth. The judge reviewed the case and confirmed that it had been resolved and Hardy could now vote.

According to the judge, Hardy’s right to vote was approved and the situation was addressed.

Judge Baugher congratulated Hardy on having his voting rights restored and for his initiative in the matter.

Hardy then asked for a copy of the record that states he can vote.

Judge Baugher then stood up from his bench and went into a door behind him. He returned with a copy for Hardy.

To Hardy, the fact that the judge got up and made the copy himself was a big deal and for that he respects him.

“It was a very, very, proud moment for me today to have the judge walk out [and] smile at me,” Hardy said. “[The judge said] I’m happy to see … you’re exercising your rights.”

Hardy’s advice to others is to take the time to educate yourself.

Before he went to prison, he was illiterate, according to Hardy.

While incarcerated he took the time to educate himself, and he currently has his own business.

Hardy is now the proud owner of a voter registration card, and he is eager to join the community by voting.

Educating yourself will do “yourself a favor” because it is hard to function without it, Hardy said.


Lisa Landrum is the Public Safety Beat Reporter for the Daily News-Record. This article is re-posted by permission.

(Photo above of Danny Hardy, owner of Maxx Car Wash and Detailing, by Daniel Lin / Daily News-Record)

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