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Dirtwoman Can Vote, and Just Might Run


"I'm just so tickled, I don't know what to do," Corker says just moments after receiving a call July 14 from the governor's office.

Corker's inability to cast a ballot stems from an incident 30 years ago, he says, when police caught him in a city park having sexual relations with an elderly man.

Since then, the 55-year-old has been fighting to get his voting rights back, along with doing what he happily describes as "nothing but trying to stay out of trouble." He says he asked previous governors if he could vote again but figured his requests were met with prejudice or else fell on deaf ears. Then Kaine took office.

Lynn Clayton, restoration rights director with the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, says Corker's correct in crediting Kaine, pointing out that only the governor has the power to grant clemency — and can do so at his discretion.

For the last six months, Clayton has assisted Corker while he's worked to get his civil rights back, which in addition to voting, include the right to run for and hold public office, to serve on juries and to serve as a notary public.

Clayton says she reviewed Corker's one-page application and deemed him a good candidate for restoration because he hadn't been convicted of any subsequent felonies or DUIs, had good references and had paid all fines related to his crimes.

Corker, who resides in the 8th District, says he's not sure where his precinct is or whom he might vote for in City Council elections Nov. 7. He'll figure both out in plenty of time, he says.

What's more, don't be surprised if you see his name turn up, possibly as a write-in candidate. "I have a plan for Richmond," Corker says assuredly. "I can't say what I'm going to do, but I will say if I run for anything, I'll win." S

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