By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
On May 3, 2016, for the first time in his 78 years of life, Isaac Lee Green awoke from his sleep with one important goal to achieve that day: Vote!! It was municipal election day in Norfolk and three candidates were running for mayor. Green had his heart set on voting for State Senator Kenneth C. Alexander. When he reached the polling place in Berkley, Green much to his dismay, he said, was told that he was not eligible. He was one of the 200,000 plus men and women who had their voting rights automatically restored with an Executive Order issued by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Although Green had submitted his application to have the state restore his voting rights months ago, the Governor’s order came after the deadline to register to vote 30 days prior to election on May 3. Green is not alone. Thousands of other Virginia residents who will eventually benefit from the Governor’s executive order automatically restoring the voting rights of felons who had served their time, paid their fine and completed other obligations were unable to do so. But later this year in the November presidential election, many will be able to vote, including Green. Green lives with his wife in the Campostella section of Norfolk where their home is also part museum. The museum includes exhibits of artifacts honoring family members to include his famous Uncle Edward A. Carter, Jr., a Medal of Honor awardee.
Green was born in North Carolina, and his family moved to Norfolk in the early 40s. His father worked at the Naval base and his mother was a housewife. He said he has been frustrated with not being able to vote in previous years, especially the two elections in which President Barack Obama ran. He stays busy. He and local legendary Negro League Baseball great Sam Allen participate in group with men their age called the Akoben Manifest. They gather and discuss issues and lend a hand to various causes.
But barring any hurdles in the coming months, he will take every opportunity time to make up for any lost time in voting. “I will vote the first time I get. I am excited about voting in a presidential race this November,” said Green. “I go out and talk to young people and adults about voting. The state took that right from me. Now that I have it back, I am going to use it every chance I get. “Too many people fought and died back then to get us the right to vote. We have no excuse if you are able not to get up and go vote..it is too precious.”