Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced this Monday that he has unilaterally restored voting rights to 13,000 felons and plans to follow suit with up to 187,000 more.
The Virginia Republican Party was furious when the Democratic governor originally announced his plan to restore voting rights to 200,000 felons. The Party filed a lawsuit against him, arguing that he had overstepped his bounds. The case went to the Virginia State Supreme Court, where it was decided that McAuliffe could not restore voting rights en masse.
The rebellious governor circumvented the court’s ruling by granting individual pardons to 13,000 felons. “These individuals are gainfully employed,” says McAuliffe. “They send their children and their grandchildren to our schools. They shop in our grocery stores and they pay taxes. And I am not content to condemn them for eternity as inferior second-class citizens.”
All 200,000 of McAuliffe’s chosen felons have served their sentences and completed probation or parole. McAuliffe insists that denying these people the right to vote is a remnant of Jim Crow laws “designed to suppress the electoral power of African-Americans overall,” reports NPR.
Some people think McAuliffe’s actions have more to do with influencing the election, as these lucky felons are most likely to vote Democratic in the upcoming election. If McAuliffe reaches his goal of 200,000 before November, these additional votes might be enough to push the divided state of Virginia from purple to blue.
Editor’s note: It’s interesting the timing of this, and the fact that he was in a great hurry and in defiance of his state’s Supreme Court. Does he really need more Democratic votes that badly? This is the kind of criminal act that makes you cynical about our government.