Over 200,000—mostly black—criminals, including rapists, robbers, and murderers—have been given the right to vote in the state of Virginia in the 2016 presidential elections.
Democratic Governor—and close Hilary Clinton ally—Terry McAuliffe yesterday signed an executive order granting 206,000 previously disbarred felons the right to vote. The order applies to all felons who have completed their sentences and been released from supervised probation or parole.
McAuliffe making the announcement to an enthusiastic crowd.
McAuliffe’s decision “particularly affects black residents of Virginia,” the Washington Post said, adding that one in four blacks in the state have “been permanently banned from voting because of laws restricting the rights of those with convictions.”
With the signing of Friday’s executive order, McAuliffe eliminated the need for an application for violent felons who had completed their sentences up to that moment.
The action has the potential to expand the state’s voter rolls, currently estimated at about 5.4 million, by as much as 3.8 percent—and will obviously benefit Clinton against any Republican rival in the state.
Along with restoring voting rights, the action restores the right to serve on a jury, run for office, and become a notary public. The new rights also apply to felons convicted in another state and living in Virginia.
Virginia is one of 11 states where ex-offenders cannot vote unless the state gives them an individual exemption. The high nonwhite crime rate means that McAuliffe will have to sign an identical executive order every month for the remaining two years of his term to cover all the violent felons who get out of prison each month.
Many US states have laws barring convicted felons from voting. The issue has long been prominent in “civil rights” activists’ agendas, simply because so many blacks and other nonwhites are affected by it because of their vastly higher crime rates.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, about 5.85 million Americans with felony convictions (and misdemeanors in several states) cannot vote.
The pro-nonwhite “Sentencing Project” organization said in a 2014 report that nationwide, one in every 13 black adults cannot vote as the result of a felony conviction, and in three states—Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia—more than one in five black adults is disenfranchised.
The restoration of voting rights has enraged some in Virginia who have pointed out that the policy doesn’t take into account the violence of the crime, whether the person committed serial crimes, whether they’ve committed crimes since completing their sentence, or whether they’ve paid their victims back for medical bills.
“Murder victims don’t get to sit on juries but now the man that killed them will,” said Del. Robert B. Bell (R-Albemarle), who is running for attorney general. “A murder victim won’t get to vote, but the man that killed them will.”
Speaker of the Virginia House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, blasted the order as a political ploy to boost Democrats’ chances in November.
“The singular purpose of Terry McAuliffe’s governorship is to elect Hillary Clinton president of the United States,” Howell said. “This office has always been a steppingstone to a job in Hillary Clinton’s Cabinet.”
“Considering that the entire General Assembly was in session just two days ago, the timing of this action should give all legislators pause,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City.
“I believe in redemption and reconciliation and that a review of restoration of rights for nonviolent felons who’ve paid their debt to society deserves debate, but this sweeping action benefiting convicted rapists, murderers and child molesters is a reckless abuse of executive power,” said Ed Gillespie, a GOP gubernatorial hopeful and former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Clinton praised the move on Twitter, saying: “Proud of my friend (Terry McAuliffe) for continuing to break down barriers to voting.”