Virginia governor allows felons to vote by executive order

Washington PostGov. Terry McAuliffe will allow more than 200,000 ex-cons in Virginia to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election, one of the biggest actions taken by a state to instantly restore voting rights. The governor called the instant restoration of rights to these Virginians the natural next step to his incremental streamlining of a process that has already given 18,000 nonviolent felons their rights back. With the signing of Friday’s executive order, McAuliffe eliminated the need for an application for violent felons who had completed their sentences up to that moment.

Doing this by executive order seems problematic, but if framed as a use of the pardon power (I assume the Virginia governor has such a power) than it might perhaps be legal. Still, felons in general are probably not the best voters. It is certainly preferably to have a process for restoration of rights (including firearms rights) in place, but it also seems appropriate to consider each case individually to examine whether they have become a responsible member of society or continued their life of crime.

The political motivations for this move are obvious: transforming the electorate into one that can elect Hillary Clinton president.

UPDATE: There are arguments that McAuliffe doesn't have the constitutional authority to do this.

This entry was published Sun Apr 24 11:09:58 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2016-04-25 19:50:37.0. [Tweet]

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