More than 200,000 ex-cons in Virginia can register to vote in the upcoming presidential election, thanks to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe broke down barriers to voting on Friday. He signed an executive order that would restore the voting rights to more than 200,000 residents with a felony criminal record, circumventing the Republican-run legislature. Now ex-felons can register to vote, run for office, and serve on a jury.
McAuliffe thinks this decision is important, because Virginia is known for its long history of preventing African-Americans from fully participating in political process.
“I have long struggled with the question of whether Virginia can fully address Lincoln’s call for a government by the people, of the people, and for the people, when we cut out so many people from full citizenship,” he said. “This is the essence of democracy. Any effort to erode it dilutes it for all of us. So I believe it is time to cast off Virginia’s troubled history and restore the rights of these men and women.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, almost 6 million American citizens with felony convictions are denied the right to vote. It means that 1 in 13 African Americans are prohibited from voting. Felon disenfranchisement laws were purposefully implemented to keep black people away from politics.
Congratulations, Virginia! If people are released back into society, they shouldn’t be released as second-class citizens.
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