VA Gov. Will Let Felons Vote Despite Court Order

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) was told by the Virginia Supreme Court that he couldn't snap his fingers and say that 206,000 ex-felons can vote. But McAuliffe is still going to let thousands of felons vote anyway.

ABC News reports that McAuliffe announced at the Civil Rights Memorial on Capitol Square in Richmond on Monday that 13,000 felons will now be allowed to vote.

"The Virginia Constitution is clear," McAuliffe said. "I have the authority to restore civil rights without limitation.

The governor claimed that he had the power to review "cases individually" to allow felons to vote.

"Let me put this in plain English: We will proceed," McAuliffe declared.

Back in July, the Virginia Supreme Court struck down McAuliffe's blanket voting rights restoration to 206,000 felons, with the majority writing that "grant blanket, group pardons" from the governor was not compatible with the state constitution.

"Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia governors issued a clemency order of any kind — including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders — to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request," wrote Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons. "To be sure, no governor of this commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists. And the only governors who have seriously considered the question concluded that no such power exists."

But McAuliffe wasn't going to let the Virginia Supreme Court get in the way of his scheme to add more Democrats to the voting rolls.

"I will expeditiously sign nearly 13,000 individual orders to restore the fundamental rights of the citizens who have had their rights restored and registered to vote," was McAuliffe's response to the ruling. "And I will continue to sign orders until I have completed restoration for all 200,000 Virginians. My faith remains strong in all of our citizens to choose their leaders, and I am prepared to back up that faith with my executive pen."

The current process in Virgina allows for ex-felons to vote only on a case-by-case when their applications are thoroughly examined; the process clearly differentiates between non-violent and violent crimes.

Maybe the 13,000 felons who can now vote had applications that warranted restoration of their voting rights. But McAuliffe seems to be focused eventually going around the court to get all of the 206,000 ex-felons to vote, and it's for one purpose only: electing his friend Hillary Clinton. Seven-in-ten felons vote Democrat, after all.

Clinton does appear to have Virginia won easily, as a recent poll shows her up by 16 points over GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. But adding more Democrats to the state's electorate will provide with extra cushion on the off-chance that the race becomes close.

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