The Latest: Virginia Court weighs former felon voting rights
(AP) – The Latest on the lawsuit over Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 former felons (all times local):
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration is urging the Virginia Supreme Court to throw out a challenge to his restoration of voting rights to thousands of former felons.
Virginia Solicitor General Stuart Raphael argued Tuesday that the Republican lawmakers and other voters challenging his order have no legal standing because they haven’t shown they’ve been harmed.
Charles Cooper, an attorney for the Republicans, argued that the governor’s executive order is unconstitutional. He told the court the legal votes of the plaintiffs will be diluted if thousands of former felons cast ballots in November.
The question is whether Virginia’s constitution allows governors to restore voting rights en masse, or requires such decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis.
The justices did not immediately rule after Tuesday’s hearing.
The Virginia Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a Republican lawsuit trying to block more than 200,000 former felons in the state from voting in November.
A hearing is scheduled Tuesday morning centered on whether the state’s constitution allows governors to restore voting rights to ex-felons en masse or requires them to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Republican lawmakers who sued Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe say the governor clearly violated the constitution and ignored decades of practice with his April executive order.
McAuliffe says he’s confident he’s on firm legal ground. But he has said he will restore all roughly 206,000 former felons’ political rights individually if he has to.