Virginia Republicans look to strip voting rights from 200,000 who just got it back
They want to reverse Governer Terry McAuliffe’s executive order giving felons the right to vote after they’ve served their time.
McAuliffe, a Democrat, signed the order in April. Before that, Virginia was one of a small handful of states that permanently bar people who have been convicted of felonies from voting in elections. That practice—along with that of barring felons from voting while they are incarcerated, which is used in many more states—has been called out as a tool of racial and class-based disenfranchisement, based on statistics that show that poor people and people of color are far more likely to be branded as felons than their well-to-do white counterparts. Virginia’s policy, written into its constitution during the Civil War era, was explicitly aimed at disenfranchising black voters, McAuliffe said when he signed the order.
Now, a group of Republican state lawmakers is going to court over the action, arguing that McAuliffe overstepped the bounds of his executive power.