Leftist groups sprung into action after Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe granted 206,000 felons the right to vote in April, including rapists and murderers, and have been working around the clock to get them on voter rolls.
According to a report by the Washington Post, activists want to swing the state for the Democratic nominee in November and for Democratic state officials. They’ve registered over 2,000 felons in two weeks. Hours after McAuliffe gave his order, activists were in poor and urban neighborhoods to start signing up ex-cons.
As the Post notes:
Only a fraction of those eligible are likely to cast ballots on Election Day, but in a state with a recent spate of close elections, even a small number of new voters could affect the outcome.
And a new bloc of voters could decide not only the presidential contest in this swing state but also the winner of the 2017 governor’s race, who will have influence over the upcoming once-a-decade round of redistricting for state legislative and congressional districts.
It’s easier for donors to give money to nonprofits signing up new voters, since their donation won’t cut into spending caps on giving to campaigns themselves.
Virginia Republicans have already announced they plan to sue McAuliffe, who has to sign a new order to make even violent felons eligible to vote (and serve on juries, run for office, and work as a notary).
“It is hard to describe how transparent the Governor’s motives are. The singular purpose of Terry McAuliffe’s governorship is to elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States. This office has always been a stepping stone to a job in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet,” Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell said in a harsh statement criticizing McAuliffe in April.
Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton praised McAuliffe’s move, tweeting she’s “proud of my friend” for “continuing to break down barriers to voting.”
McAuliffe also mocked Republicans, telling them to “quit complaining” and to scramble to win the newly-expanded felon vote which now includes murderers, rapists, burglars, violent drug traffickers, kidnappers, arsonists, child abusers, those convicted of aggravated assault, and more.