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GOP Files Suit Over Restoring Voting Rights

Republicans in the General Assembly are not just speaking out against Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s plan to restore voting rights to 200,000 former felons. They’re taking their case to court, filing a lawsuit in the Virginia Supreme Court.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six Virginia voters, a list that includes House Speaker Bill Howell and Senate President Tommy Norment. The clash features yet another Washington-style battle for control between Republicans and Democrats. 

“There is an obvious comparison there between what’s going on at the national level and what we’re seeing here."

That’s Geoff Skelley at the University of Virginia Center for Politics. He says this lawsuit is similar to one filed by Republicans challenging the president’s executive order on immigration. 

“Every executive order that President Obama makes these days seems to be challenged by the Republican legislature in Washington."

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Republicans seem to have a solid legal case. But he says that doesn’t mean they’ll win in the end. 

“They may win the legal argument and lose the political or moral argument."

Kidd says that’s because Virginia’s long history with voter suppression. 

“The governor couched this in the context of undoing Jim Crow practices."

Even if the governor is successful, that doesn’t mean two hundred thousand new voters in the fall. All of those former felons would need to register to vote just like everybody else.

I’m Michael Pope. 

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