WASHINGTON — With 90 days to go before the November election, the Virginia State Board of Elections will meet on Wednesday to sort out what do with felons whose voting rights were briefly restored with a sweep of the governor’s pen, only to be stripped again by the state’s high court.
Roughly 13,000 felons registered to vote between Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s April order restoring their civil rights and the July decision from the Virginia Supreme Court overturning the order. The high court’s ruling also ordered the names of the newly registered felons removed from local voter rolls.
The elections board is expected to hear an update on the ongoing process to remove the felons’ names. The ruling from the Supreme Court is the only item on the agenda for the board.
The court found that McAuliffe overstepped his constitutional authority by restoring the civil rights of more than 206,000 felons at one time. Past governors have restored the right to vote, serve on a jury and to be a notary public to felons on a case-by-case basis.
McAuliffe has promised to undo the high court’s order by restoring the felons’ civil rights one by one.
He has not yet signed any of those individual orders. A spokesman for McAuliffe told Richmond’s WTVR-TV on Monday that the administration is still verifying that their list of individuals who should be covered by the order is accurate.
McAuliffe’s spokesman, Brian Coy, did not have a new timeline for when the governor would act.
Opponents of the McAuliffe’s blanket restoration of rights, including Republican leaders in the General Assembly, had cited mistakes in the list of felons whose rights were restored as evidence that McAuliffe’s sweeping order was wrong for Virginia.
The full list has not been released.
Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson was scheduled to answer questions about the next steps at a town hall in Richmond on Tuesday night where the audience was expected to include felons who had registered to vote under the executive order before it was overturned.
Del. Jennifer McClellan, a Richmond Democrat, hosted the meeting to address questions about what the governor’s next steps would be, and how the administration plans to ensure that those who had registered to vote under McAuliffe’s order would be eligible to vote in November’s election.
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