Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has restored the rights of more than 500 felons after receiving more than 1,000 applications as of May 15.

Of the 1,080 applications received, 650 applications were left over from former Gov. Tim Kaine's administration. McDonnell received 430 new applications by May 15.

In May, McDonnell announced a new policy that created a 60-day deadline for decisions from the governor's office and reduced the time from three years to two that nonviolent felons must wait to apply for restoration of rights. The policy also reduced the time from two years to one year that applicants have to wait to reapply if denied.

Violent felons must wait five years to reapply.

Of the 1,080 applications, 888 were complete. However, 314 were ineligible because not enough time had passed.

Of the remaining 574 applications, 506 were approved.

">Felons rights applications
Applications Approved Denied
Two-year 373 22
Five-year 133 46

Civil and human rights groups have pushed for automatic restoration of rights once convicts have served their time. Virginia and Kentucky are the only two states in the United States that require action from the governor to enfranchise felons once they are released from prison. The fact that rights have been restored to 500 citizens is a "wonderful thing," said Del. Kenny Alexander, D-Norfolk, chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

"They should have automatic restoration," he added. "But to have 500-plus, certainly it's encouraging."

McDonnell raised some controversy and agitated advocates after notices were sent out to felons saying they had to write a letter regarding the circumstances behind their arrest and their civic involvement after their release. McDonnell said they were not supposed to be sent out.

The governor has clarified, restated his position, and tried to correct that "mishap," Alexander said.

"We'll continue to monitor and see what happens," he said.