Foundation Seeks Info on 60,000 Felons Given Voting Rights by VA Governor

Foundation Seeks Info on 60,000 Felons Given Voting Rights by VA Governor

Governor McAuliffe used “auto pen” to sign as many as possible without due consideration

(Alexandria, VA) – November 8.  The Public Interest Legal Foundation sent a request to Edgardo Cortes, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, notifying him under federal law that the Foundation seeks to inspect list maintenance records regarding the tens of thousands of individuals recently given rights by the Governor.

Under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (or Motor Voter), the public has the right to physically inspect election records related to list maintenance records. If election officials do not provide the requested inspection, they may be sued in federal court and may be liable to pay attorney’s fees under the statute for failing to provide the records. The Foundation has filed multiple federal lawsuits against election officials who refused to make election records transparent.

Governor McAuliffe’s persistence to unilaterally ensure felons vote despite Virginia Constitutional constraints has been the subject of litigation.  This action was challenged in the Virginia Supreme Court, which invalidated his executive order on July 22, 2016. By August 22, Governor McAuliffe announced that he had restored the rights of 13,000 individuals by using an auto-pen to sign the orders. Reports from this week suggest that the total now is closer to 60,000 individuals despite the Supreme Court’s requirement that an individualized determination be made for each felon.

“Laws no longer matter to powerful people interested in keeping their power,” said J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “We have asked state election officials to inspect records demonstrating the extent of the Governor’s lawlessness.” 

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.