Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Virginia Felons and the Presidential Election

The outcome of our upcoming presidential election may be determined by whether felons vote in Virginia. Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe – a close friend of Hillary Clinton – could receive a high-level position in her administration if she wins. Virginia limits it governors to only one term, so McAuliffe will need a new job by 2018.

The Virginia Constitution prohibits most felons from voting, but this spring Governor McAuliffe issued an unprecedented, sweeping order authorizing felons to vote anyway. The Virginia Supreme Court subsequently struck down McAuliffe’s order, in Howell v. McAuliffe. The Court ruled that “Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia Governors issued a clemency order of any kind … to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request.”

But rather than comply with this good ruling by the highest court in his state, Virginia Governor McAuliffe defiantly responded by indicating that he will get around it and authorize the 200,000 felons to vote anyway. McAuliffe plans to issue individual orders to each felon to allow him to vote.

Convicted felons are not allowed to vote in some states, but where they are allowed to vote they are expected to cast ballots for the Democratic Party in overwhelming percentages. The vast majority of the 200,000 convicted felons in Virginia are expected to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton, if allowed. In 2012, Barack Obama won Virginia by less than 150,000 votes against Mitt Romney, so felons could easily tip the balance.

Is this the desperate means by which Hillary hopes to win?

*recorded August 2016

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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