Voting

Virginia Gov. Restores Voting Rights for All Ex-Felons, Will Continue on Monthly Basis

As well as the ability to run for office, serve on a jury, and act as a notary public.

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jamelah/flickr

By proclamation, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has restored the voting rights of about 200,000 ex-felons in the state. The proclamation covers any Virginian convicted of a felony who has served their sentence and is no longer under state supervision.

Virginia law permits the governor to restore the rights of convicted felons at his discretion, and the previous governor, Bob McDonnell (R)—n.b. now a convicted felon—had also worked to simplify the restoration of the right to vote for ex-felons, as the Washington Post notes.

The governor's office says McAuliffe intends to issue monthly orders restoring the rights of newly released felons. The proclamation also applies to the right to run for office, serve on a jury, and act as a notary public.

Only two states, Vermont and Maine, permit felons to vote even when they are in prison, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In Iowa, felons permanently lose their right to vote, while Virginia, Kentucky, and Florida offer restoration of voting rights by executive order.

Other states range from permitting only some ex-felons to vote to extending to all ex-felons, even those still on probation, the right to vote.

A 2014 Reason-Rupe poll found 73 percent of Americans in favor of restoring voting rights for non-violent drug offenders.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a bill last February to protect the voting rights of ex-felons on a federal level but the bill has languished in the Republican-controlled Senate. Outgoing Kentucky Gov. Steve Bashear (D) restored the voting rights of most ex-felons just before leaving office last year, but incoming Republican Gov. Matt Bevin reversed the decision after taking office. He had said on the campaign trail he supported more leniency for ex-felons but insisted it be done through the state legislature.

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40 responses to “Virginia Gov. Restores Voting Rights for All Ex-Felons, Will Continue on Monthly Basis

  1. What about gun rights? How can you logically justify one and not the other?

    1. Overall I see this as a positive.

    2. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Forcing 49.9% of the population to abide by something that 50.1% voted for is hardly violent.

    3. How can you justify any of it?

      Either you’ve paid your debt or you haven’t. As soon as you are off probation, you should get it all back.

      1. Part of paying off your debt can be a permanent loss of a right. When you pay a fine that money is gone forever.

        1. In a world where a crime is a thing that categorically requires the existence of an actual victim, you’d be right.

    4. Guns are icky, so right thinking people still want that right to be suspended forever, regardless of the crime.

      1. Guns are icky, so right thinking people still want that right to be suspended forever, regardless of the crime for everyone.

        1. Not for everyone just the peasants.

          People who claim to be your favor of a gun-free America really want the government to have guns and the Peasants to be disarmed and helpless before them.

    1. Your prison penpal after you broke up with him?

      1. That gives me an idea. CRUSTY!!! GET IN HERE!

        1. Most of Crusty’s “penpals” got themselves incarcerated specifically to get away from him.

    2. The one you stalk on Facebook and compare all your current felons too

  2. Sideshow Bob will be delighted. (Who gets the reference?)

    1. Everyone gets it. That’s one of the most popular characters.

  3. Soft. On. Crime.

    Prepare to see your very own Willie Horton ad during your next reelection.

    *ominous voice* Terry McAuliffe thinks that rapists and murderers should sit in judgment of you. He wants to put them on juries, and let them vote in elections that could repeal the very laws they so love to break.

    It’s time to tell Terry McAuliffe that enough is enough, and good white citizens are not subject to the whims of violent psychopaths.”

    1. Won’t work. Virginia governors are statutorily limited to a single four-year term at a time and then they have to GTFO (although they can run again in a future election).

      1. Then it will be used to tar whichever donkey runs after him, forcing said donkey to backtrack it.

        “I never agreed with Terry that rapists should be sequestered with juries, giving them the chance to rape with impunity.”

      2. “Won’t work. Virginia governors are statutorily limited to a single four-year term at a time and then they have to GTFO (although they can run again in a future election).”

        Maybe Terry can proclaim that to no longer be the case too? (The Virginia Senate voted to allow two-term Governors recently so it might be changing, I certainly hope not though)

        1. One-term governors?! Sign me up!

  4. I don’t see why felons shouldn’t be allowed to run for office. At least then it’s out there in the open instead of just implied.

  5. Just in time for the Virginia primary? Take that Sanders!

    1. VA’s primary was ages ago. or so it seems.

      1. We totally Super Tuesdayed here in the Old Dominion, homie.

  6. So we have dumbed down the notion of felon so much that we remove the negative effects of the status and congratulate ourselves for it.

    It is an irrational reponse to scope creep that results in an absurd result.

    1. Time was, felons never got to vote again. Because we done hanged’em.

      No to varmints! Marty for Sheriff 2016!

  7. I’m all for restoring the voting rights of felons but they should be restored via legislation (or court ruling), not executive fiat. Just because this is a good thing doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

  8. He told Hillary he’d deliver Virginia and he’s going to!

    Even if this was a completely just move, it being done by proclamation doesn’t bode well.

    1. He’s got a pen and a phone, what else does he need?

    2. The promoted comment at the top was interesting.

      1. Yes, I think Hans is completely correct here:

        “This looks like an obvious attempt to change the result of close elections in a key swing state by changing the electorate itself (felons vote lopsidedly for the Democrats).”

        It’s not just a party thing here, McAuliffe is an old Clinton friend, there’s even chatter about him being her running mate. He’s not a Virginia native and might be too much of a white male for that though.

        1. Votes from felons and States immigrants will pave the Road to serfdom.

  9. …incoming Republican Gov. Matt Bevin… had said on the campaign trail he supported more leniency for ex-felons but insisted it be done through the state legislature.

    What kind of power mad monster is this guy?

    1. Well, his convictions would seem to indicate that Bashear’s order should be overturned through the state legislature, rather than by executive fiat.

      1. (thinks about it) My head hurts.

        1. *pats shoulder*

          I recommend booze.

  10. From the governor’s proclamation

    “The civil rights restored by this Order are: (1) the right to vote; (2) the right to hold public office; (3) the right to serve on a jury; and (4) the right to act as a notary public. Nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms.”

    No, but you get to tell people with guns how to use those guns.

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