Voting Rights to Virginia Felons Restored

     (CN) — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday restored the voting rights of more than 206,000 felons, a move the Democrat says will undo the state’s history of suppressing the black vote.
     “Too often in both our distant and recent history, politicians have used their authority to restrict people’s ability to participate in our democracy,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
     “Today we are reversing that disturbing trend and restoring the rights of more than 200,000 of our fellow Virginians who work, raise families and pay taxes in every corner of our commonwealth,” he added.
     Perhaps bracing for a Republican backlash, McAuliffe said he’s certain he has the legal authority to issue such a sweeping extension of voting rights.
     To underscore that point, the governor said he consulted with state Attorney General Mark Herring and other legal experts before moving forward.
     Under the terms of the order announced Friday anyone convicted of a felony in Virginia who has completed their sentence and finished any supervised release, parole or probation requirements as of April 22 will be able to vote, run for public office, and serve on a jury.
     This isn’t the first time McAuliffe has restored the voting rights of former convicts, but Friday’s action is unique in its sheer scale.
     Previously he had restored the voting rights of 18,000 felons, which was already more than his past seven predecessor.

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