Republican legislators in Virginia are threatening to sue Gov. Terry McAuliffe to block his executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 residents who have completed their felony sentences. The lawmakers have no good legal case, and worse, such a suit would be affirming Virginia’s racist history. Virginia is one of just four states — along with Iowa, Florida and Kentucky — that continue to impose a lifetime voting ban on people convicted of felonies. In recent years, both Democratic and Republican governors have worked to lift this burden, either by streamlining the application process for individuals or trying to restore rights to specific classes of people, like those convicted of nonviolent felonies.
Mr. McAuliffe took a bolder and more just step last month by restoring those rights to all people with felony convictions. Republican lawmakers say this action “overstepped the bounds of his authority and the constitutional limits on executive powers.”
They fail to point to any provision in the state’s Constitution or laws to support this claim, because there isn’t one. Virginia’s Constitution explicitly empowers the governor “to remove political disabilities consequent upon conviction” for felonies. It places no qualifications or limitations on that power.
Full Article: A Second Chance and the Right to Vote – The New York Times.