NORFOLK, Va. -Republican leaders in Virginia want the State Supreme Court to hold Governor McAuliffe in contempt. They claim McAuliffe violated the Court’s order which overturned his blanket reinstatement of voting rights for felons.
Back in April McAuliffe announced he was restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons who had completed their terms. GOP leaders challenged McAuliffe, claiming he didn’t have the authority to issue such a broad order. The State Supreme Court agreed.
McAuliffe has since begun restoring felons’ right individually but Republican leaders say his plans to restore those rights to so many people all at once amount to the same thing–a blanket order and they want the court to hold him in contempt.
McAuliffe issued a statement today claiming the Republicans are trying to “intimidate and disenfranchise people.” His continued, “Our ongoing fight to restore Virginians’ rights is about one thing: Moving our Commonwealth into the mainstream of American states where people who serve their time reenter society as full citizens again.”
Republican leaders have long held that McAuliffe is hoping to register new voters to support his longtime friend Hillary Clinton in November’s election. “The governor will undoubtedly continue to falsely demagogue our motivations, but we cannot stand idly by,” House Speaker William Howell wrote in a new release announcing the filing of the motion.
Ellen Tomiye is a felon who already has her rights back, but is trying to register others before the 2016 election. “It makes you feel like you have more of a purpose,” she said. “You know you’re just existing.”