Virginia Republicans Vow to Sue to Reverse Restoration of Voting Rights to Felons

Virginia Governor gives right to vote to all freed felons who have served their time.

Virginia Governor gives right to vote to all freed felons who have served their time.

Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe used his executive authority to reinstate the voting rights of former convicted felons. The reinstatement applies to all felons who have served their prison sentences and finished any supervised release, parole or probation requirements by April 22, 2016. They will be able to vote in November, 2016.  They will also be able to run for public office, serve on a jury, and become a notary public. Over 200,000 freed former felons are affected by this order and the majority are African Americans, who usually vote Democratic.

Virginia Republicans have vowed to file a lawsuit challenging the Governor’s executive order. Senate Republican Leader Thomas Norment said in a statement, “Gov. McAuLiffe’s flagrant disregard for the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law must not go unchecked.” Norment said that previous attorneys general have concluded the governor does not have the power to issue blanket restoration of voting rights. However, McAuliffe said he made the decision after consulting with the current attorney general (who is a Democrat) and other constitutional experts. He said people who have served their time should be given a second chance to exercise their civic duty.

The Virginia Republican Party said such efforts were long overdue but that the governor went too far by including violent offenders such as rapists and murderers. They suggested that the move was politically motivated.

Republicans have hired an attorney. They say they will not be using taxpayer money to pay for the lawsuit.



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