Virginia Move to Give Felons the Vote Creates Uproar, but Nothing New Here

The ACLU created an interactive map of all 50 states and their felony disenfranchisement laws. Click on the photo to explore their map.

The ACLU created an interactive map of all 50 states and their felony disenfranchisement laws. Click on the photo to explore their map.

On April 22,  Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order immediately allowing about 200,000 convicted felons to register to vote in the November election.

McAuliffe’s executive order was described by critics as a “transparent” attempt to help elect Hillary Clinton. But the governor countered that his decision was simply the right thing to do. In Virginia, 1-in-4 African American men were permanently barred from voting due to laws that restrict the rights of those with convictions, the Washington Post reported.

In Colorado, convicted felons who have completed their sentences, including parole, have had the right to vote “since the state constitution was written,” said Pam Clifton, who runs the “Can I Vote?” campaign for the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. That would be Article 7, Section 10 of the state constitution.

“I think there is an urban myth that felons can’t vote, so I don’t think that most people know that they can,” Clifton said.

One condition in Colorado is that felons must re-register to vote after serving their sentences.

Now, after the Virginia action, only three states still permanently disenfranchise convicted felons: Iowa, Florida and Kentucky.

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