Friday, July 22, 2016

VA Supreme Court Strikes Down Restored Voting Rights for Felons

The Virginia Supreme Court struck down Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) move to restore voting rights for over 200,000 convicted felons on Friday.

In April, Governor McAuliffe restored the voting and civil rights of more than 200,000 Virginians who were convicted of felonies, served their time and completed any supervised release, parole or probation requirements. In a statement on the Governor's website, "each of those Virginians will immediately regain the right to register to vote, to run for office, to serve on a jury and to serve as a notary public."

The 4-3 ruling came a month after Republicans in the State sued McAuliffe, saying that he overstepped his authority in issuing the Executive action.

“The unprecedented scope, magnitude, and categorical nature of Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order” exceeded his authority, wrote Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons in the decision.

Republicans argued that the move would also disproportionately favor Democrats like presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

McAuliffe pushed back on those claims, saying that the executive action was “morally the right thing to do.”

"Quit complaining and go out and earn these folks' right to vote for you. Go out and talk to them," he told Republicans.

In a 60-plus page decision, the Virginia Supreme court "respectfully disagreed" with the governor's assertion that his clemency power in the matter was "absolute."

"The clemency power may be broad, but it is not absolute," the decision notes.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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