Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially announced on Monday that he has restored the voting rights of 13,000 felons, despite a Supreme Court ruling that initially delayed his plans to grant restoration to 200,00 felons throughout the state.
This is an issue I have been passionate about for many, many years. I personally believe in the power of second chances and in the dignity and worth of every single human being,” he said.
McAuliffe added that these are people who contribute to our society and deserve their constitutional right to cast their ballot just like every other citizen of the United States.
These individuals are gainfully employed, they send their children and their grandchildren to our schools, they shop in our grocery stores and they pay taxes. I am not content to condemn them for eternity as inferior, second-class citizens.
In April, the Virginia governor signed an executive order restoring voting rights to 200,000 felons who have already served their time and paid their debt to society for their crimes. But that order was struck down in July when the Supreme Court found that the governor lacked the “power to grant blanket, group pardons.”
However, McAuliffe was not willing to admit defeat. In response to the high court’s ruling, the governor has said that he would sign each of the 200,000 orders granting voting rights individually. As of Monday, he has managed to put his name on 13,000 of those orders, reaching his first goal. He stated that he has every intention of signing every single one of the remaining orders for all 200,000 felons.
Republicans were infuriated by his initial executive order in April and they rejoiced in the Supreme Court’s ruling, hailing it as a necessary check on McAuliffe’s power. GOP nominee Donald Trump has criticized the governor’s actions as well, claiming that he is just trying to increase support for Democratic candidates ahead of elections in the swing state.
Virginia Gov. McAuliffe restores voting rights for felons: "I personally believe in the power of second chances" https://t.co/aimJAGL3Bo
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