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Woman convicted of fraud in the 80s given the right to vote, wants to help others

Posted: 8:30 AM, Sep 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-24 15:30:07Z

This 57-year-old woman has a passion for driving.

“I like it; I meet different people every day,” says Cheryl Fleming-Lovette.

Born and raised in Virginia, Fleming-Lovette makes the short trip to Washington D.C. daily.

Not far off her usual commute, there’s a place called Green Valley. It’s a place from her past, but one where she took a wrong turn.

“This is where my drug addiction started, which led to my conviction,” says Fleming-Lovette.

In the 80s, a two-year stint on hard drugs led her to commit fraud. After completing jail time, the felony on her record remained.

One thing cut even deeper, she says.

“[It] led to me not being able to vote,” she says. “Not being ever able to vote, because of a felony.”

Virginia is one of four states that strips voting rights away from convicted felons—forever. And only the states’ governors can restore those rights.

In 2016, during the last presidential election, Fleming-Lovette got that chance.

“I was at the polls voting for the very first time, 54 years old, Fleming-Lovette says.

“Governor McAuliffe, he gave me that opportunity.”

She says that opportunity has given her a new purpose this November. Not only will she be casting a ballot in the midterm elections, she says she wants to steer others in the same direction.

“Seek people that don't have transportation to the polls, and drive them, on me,” Fleming-Lovette says. “That's my way of giving back.”