After you are convicted of a felony crime, in the vast majority of the country you lose your right to vote. You receive punishment for the felony, prison time, probation, whatever – you then pay your debt to society, and once you do that, you don’t get your rights back and it’s almost impossible to get a job. This problem particularly effects African Americans.
A roundabout way of disenfranchising the African American vote is to create new laws on the books that felons can’t vote, and adjusting felony punishments and enforcements to voter demographics that are going to vote Democrat. This problem in Virginia plagues one out of every five African-American men. In Virginia the governor through an executive order gave them back the right to vote. Subsequently:
Via Think Progress: In a 4 to 3 decision late Friday, the Supreme Court of Virginia stripped away the voting rights from 200,000 ex-offenders who had recently regained full civil rights through one of McAuliffe’s executive orders, effectively disenfranchising one in five of the state’s African American voters.
Pending the decision by the court to negate the executive order issued by the governor, the governor struck back by enacting a new law to give the 200,000 individuals in question their rights back individually through clemency grants.
Via ThinkProgress: The court said the governor lacks the authority under the state constitution to issue a blanket rights restoration to everyone in the state with a felony record who has already served their full sentence. A study earlier this year found that the vast majority of those impacted — 80 percent — committed non-violent crimes. Most have been out of prison for more than a decade, and African Americans are disproportionately represented. Forty-six percent of the ex-offenders are black, though blacks make up less than 20 percent of the state’s population.
But just hours after the decision, McAuliffe vowed to push back by signing clemency grants for the state’s ex-offenders one by one.
How is he doing it? By giving them their rights back individually.
He’s getting around the Virginia Supreme Court’s ruling against him by signing 200,000 individual clemency grants to the state’s ex-offenders to ensure their right to vote in November.