More Than 200,000 of Virginia’s Ex-Felons Will Soon Have Their Voting Rights Restored

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On Friday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that more than 200,000 of the state’s former felons will soon have their voting rights restored—a move that will allow convicted felons who have completed their sentences to vote in this year’s presidential election. McAuliffe described the executive order as a step towards correcting the state’s longstanding history of disenfranchising African Americans from the voting process.

“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African Americans—we should remedy it,” McAuliffe said on Thursday.

The executive order bypassed Republicans in the state, who view former felons as potential Democratic voters. Their angry response was swift:

Nearly every state—with the exception of Maine and Vermont—has restrictions on the voting rights of felons. Virginia’s restrictions have been in place since after the Civil War, when the state’s constitution permanently barred former felons from being able to vote.

Recently, the McAuliffe administration has loosened the strict ban by allowing former felons who were convicted of non-violent crimes to be automatically eligible to have their rights restored. Today’s announcement expands the right to include those who were found guilty of committing both violent and non-violent crimes but, as the Washington Post reports, restoration will no longer be automatic. The governor will be required to review each case on an ongoing basis.

For more on the movement to restore voting rights and the impact of disenfranchisement, read our explainer here.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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