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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- "It's a new day. A big day. It's a big day."

Like many Virginiains, Jawad Abdu made a big decision Tuesday.

"Real serious things are on the line. We prepared for this day," said Abdul.

Election Day in the Commonwealth was a historic moment for Abdu because it was the first time he went to the polls to vote.

"To actually be able to be here to be in the line. Dreams do come true," Abdu said.

Abdu, an ex-gang member, is convicted felon.

He spent years behind bar for conspiracy to commit murder, gang violence, and assault by mob.

"It was the only way you could stay alive at that time," Abdu said.

Now, 20 years later, he was one of the 13,000 felons who had their rights restored by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe earlier this year.

"It's moving quick. It's moving quick about 20 minutes," Abdu said about the line at his Fairfield polling place. "I've been waiting since 1996 to get here."

After 30 minutes, Abdu walked into the booth and cast his vote.

"I'm not in an alley in the West End. I'm here voting. I matter today. I got purpose," Abdu said.

And he has a badge of honor to prove it.

"Get a good picture of that. That's what's up. That's what's up," he said.