Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe plans to announce today that he has restored voting rights to 13,000 felons on a case-by-case basis after Republicans and state Supreme Court justices last month stopped his more sweeping clemency effort, the Washington Post reports. McAuliffe’s planned action comes after the Supreme Court of Virginia invalidated an executive order the Democratic governor issued in April. With that order, McAuliffe restored voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who had completed their sentences.
Republicans, incensed that the governor’s order covered violent and nonviolent offenders alike, said the move was really a bid to add Democrat-friendly voters to the rolls ahead of November’s presidential elections, when the governor’s close friend and political ally, Hillary Clinton, will be on the ballot. Republicans also found the McAuliffe administration had mistakenly restored rights to 132 sex offenders still in custody and to several convicted murderers on probation in other states. Contending that the governor had overstepped his authority by restoring rights en masse rather than case by case, GOP legislative leaders took him to court and won. Since 13,000 of the 200,000 felons had already registered to vote, the court ordered the state to once again put their names on its list of banned voters. After that ruling, McAuliffe vowed to use an autopen to sign orders restoring rights individually.