We already know that one key Democrat strategy for winning elections — and continuing Obama’s fundamental transformation of America — is simply expanding the definition of who is “eligible” to vote in our elections.We have President Obama’s executive orders on illegal immigration that could allow an estimated four million immigrants here illegally to stay. As we’ve reported, Obama’s executive overreach is currently being considered by the Supreme Court.
Today, Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe will take executive action to extend voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons — circumventing his Republican-run legislature. Yes, when you don’t have the leadership and negotiation skills to influence your counterparts to work with you, just go for the executive action.
The Times calls this a “sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election.”
Via The New York Times:
The action will overturn a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution aimed, he said, at disenfranchising African-Americans.
The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.
“There’s no question that we’ve had a horrible history in voting rights as relates to African-Americans — we should remedy it,” Mr. McAuliffe said Thursday, previewing the announcement he will make on the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, just yards from where President Abraham Lincoln once addressed freed slaves. “We should do it as soon as we possibly can.”
The action, which Mr. McAuliffe said was justified under an expansive legal interpretation of his executive clemency authority, goes far beyond what other governors have done, experts say, and will almost certainly provoke a backlash from Virginia Republicans, who have resisted measures to expand felons’ voting rights. It has been planned in secrecy, and comes amid an intensifying national debate over race, mass incarceration and the criminal justice system.
There is no way to know how many of the newly eligible voters in Virginia will register, but Mr. McAuliffe said he would encourage all to do so. “My message is going to be that I have now done my part,” he said.
Only two states — Maine and Vermont — have no voting restrictions on felons. Of the remaining 48, 12 states disenfranchise felons after they have completed probation or parole, said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington policy organization that advocates restoring felons’ voting rights.
You may recall Gov. McAuliffe was not just formerly chairman of the Democrat National Committee (one of Little Debbie’s predecessors), he was also co-chairman of President Bill Clinton‘s 1996 re-election campaign. Oh yeah — and he was also chairman of Hillary Clinton‘s 2008 presidential campaign.
But I’m sure this election-year executive action in a critical swing state has nothing to do with politics.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]