Embroiled in a racism scandal for his yearbook photos and facing severe backlash for his comments on late-term and post-birth abortion, Governor Ralph Northam is trying to carry on with business as usual.
He’s already stated to the public that he’s not going anywhere.
Now, his office has just announced they’ve restored the rights of 11,000 convicted felons.
Governor Northam made this announcement just after the one-year mark of his taking office.
Rights restored to felons included the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office and become a notary public.
Northam’s statement did not clarify whether these rights were restored to persons convicted of voter fraud.
Restoring Rights to Felons Has Been In The Works For Years
According to Northam’s public release, the process of streamlining the restoration of rights has been in the works for several years.
“A number of reforms have been made to the restoration of rights process over the last six years, starting with Governor Robert McDonnell’s initiative in 2013 to streamline the process for non-violent felons.”
Assuming office after McDonnell, Terry McAulliffe pushed the envelope of this executive power by using an autopen to restore rights to felons, ultimately totaling 173,166.
While not the first state to grant rights back to convicted felons, the past two Virginia governors, both Democrats, have been adamant about pursuing the process through the executive.
States like Florida elected to grant the right to vote to 1.5 million convicted felons in November of 2018.
However, this has not been the case in Virginia.
Despite the Democrats’ success in pushing through Medicaid expansion last year by pulling in moderate Republicans, seeking a compromise on restoring felons’ rights was not on their priority agenda.
For now, Democrats seem content to restore the rights of tens of thousands at a time by the executive, while waiting to take power in the legislature.
And with court-ordered redistricting functionally granting the Democrats enough seats to take the majority this November, the party may not have to wait long.
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