Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly are planning to sue Gov. Terry McAuliffe over his executive action to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who have served their sentences, but the Democratic governor says he’s not worried. “I have the legal authority and the moral authority” to take the action, McAuliffe told WTOP on Wednesday morning. “Virginia was [until 2013] one of four states that permanently did not allow a felon to get their voting rights back unless they went through this arduous process,” he said. “What I did was to join what 40 other states have done. … Why should Virginia be at the bottom of the heap [regarding] restoring felons’ rights?” Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment announced on Monday that they’ve retained a lawyer to challenge McAuliffe’s order, with Norment saying in a statement that “we are prepared to uphold the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law by challenging Governor McAuliffe’s order in court.”
Norment added that McAuliffe’s “predecessors and previous attorneys general examined this issue and consistently concluded Virginia’s governor does not have the power to issue blanket restorations.”
McAuliffe on Wednesday countered that A.E. Dick Howard, the chairman of the commission that wrote Virginia’s constitution in 1971, has told The Washington Post that the governor has the authority to issue such an order: “I’m the only one with clemency power,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe went on to attack the motivations of the challengers. “They want fewer people to vote. I think that in the best, greatest democracy on Earth, everybody ought to have a chance to vote. “So they can … continue to show that they want to disenfranchise voters. That’s who the Republicans are. … Maybe the Republicans should read our constitution again.”
Full Article: Va. Gov. McAuliffe hits back at planned suit over felon voting rights – WTOP.