Gov. McAuliffe Fights Back Over Voting Rights Errors

Jun 6, 2016

Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is fighting back against Republican criticism that his executive order restoring voting rights to former felons. The governor tells Virginia Public Radio’s Michael Pope that the clerical errors were from bad data from the Department of Corrections.

Last week, Republicans lashed out at the governor for accidentally allowing a murderer serving a life sentence in West Virginia the right to vote in Virginia. Now the governor says that was a clerical error caused by erroneous information from the Department of Corrections.

“We have to rely on their data entry. And mistakes get made so we’re fixing them as we can."

McAuliffe says he has the moral high ground, restoring voting rights to people who have served their time … and following in the footsteps of 40 other states. 

“I did what other states have done. We were one of the worst states in America, one of the four worst for disenfranchisement and it was the right thing to do morally."

Republican House Speaker Bill Howell says the governor has acted irresponsibly.

“When it comes to justice the margin for error is very small. Victims don’t get do overs. Juries don’t get to come back and say they made a clerical error."

McAuliffe says any errors can be fixed.

“And if there are, you know, ten or fifteen or twenty, I don’t know the number out of 206,000, we’ll fix them."

For Democrats and Republicans, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Because all those former felons could submit applications to register to vote this November, when Virginia is expected to be a key swing state.