Virginia GOP suing Governor for restoring voting rights to felons

The Virginia Republican party is suing Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe over his order to restore voting rights to 206, 000 felons.

McAuliffe issued the order last month and promised follow-up orders every month he remains in office.

The Virginia GOP says that the move is purely political and fears that many former felons will vote Democratic, or worse, for Hillary Clinton in November.

Governor McAuliffe however, says that the right to vote is inalienable for most members of society, even former felons.

“This is the essence of our democracy and any effort to dilute that fundamental principle diminishes it, folks, for all of us,” McAuliffe said in April.

Virginia House Republicans led by Virginia House Speaker William Howell however, feel that McAuliffe’s order is in violation of tradition and basic American law.

“Governor McAuliffe’s executive order defies the plain text of the Constitution, flouts the separation of powers, and has no precedent in the annals of Virginia history,” Howell said.

The lawsuit against McAuliffe’s attempts to restore voting rights cites that a blanket restoration like this one is unprecedented.

“The Governor is authorized to restore the voting rights of any convicted felon through an individualized grant of clemency, but he may not issue a blanket restoration of voting rights,” the lawsuit says.

Before this order, each individual felon had to petition to have their voting rights restored.

So far, the felons who have received this clemency have been 80 percent non-violent offenders and have been out of prison for more than ten years.

 

[Reuters]