Republican state legislators in Virginia said they are considering a court challenge to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s decision to restore voting rights to residents with former felony convictions, the New York Times reports.
Gov. McAuliffe’s executive order on April 22 restored voting rights to an estimated 200,000 people who have completed their felony sentences.
His action was hailed as a victory for enfranchisement but prompted a backlash from Republicans, who accused the governor of overstepping his Constitutional authority as part of a political gambit to get more Democratic voters to the polls in November.
McAuliffe’s office denied that the move was political, saying the order builds off policies he’s already taken to restore voting rights to 18,000 Virginians since he took office.
A spokesman for Mr. McAuliffe said on Monday that the Republicans had not yet specified their legal rationale for challenging the restoration order, and accused them of playing politics with voting rights.
“These Virginians are qualified to vote and they deserve a voice, not more partisan schemes to disenfranchise them,” the spokesman, Brian Coy, said. According to the Sentencing Project, a research organization in Washington, one in five African-Americans in Virginia are not allowed to vote. The group estimates that nearly six million Americans around the nation cannot vote because of felony convictions.
Read the full article in the New York Times.