Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement after Republicans in the General Assembly filed a lawsuit to preserve Virginia’s policy of disenfranchising ex-felons who have served their time and completed supervised release:
“Today Republicans filed a lawsuit to preserve a policy of disenfranchisement that has been used intentionally to suppress the voices of qualified voters, particularly African Americans, for more than a century. These individuals have served their time and are now living, raising families and paying taxes in our communities -- this suit is an effort to continue to treat them as second-class citizens. This legal action would also take Virginia out of the overwhelming majority of states that restore the rights of people who have served their time and completed supervised release.
“As Virginia’s foremost constitutional scholar has concluded, the Constitution of Virginia grants the Governor ample authority to restore the rights of people who have served their time, and does not place any limitation on that authority that would be relevant to the issue at stake in this lawsuit. This is simply the latest Republican attack on the voting rights of qualified Virginians who deserve a voice in their society, and we will oppose it vigorously.”