Virginia court strikes down order giving felons voting right

Terry McAuliffe
FILE - In this July 13, 2015 file photo, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffespeaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. State and local elections across the country this week produced warnings signs for both Democrats and Republicans as the parties press toward the 2016 presidential contest, now just a year away. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s highest court has struck down Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order restoring voting rights to more than 206,000 felons.

The Supreme Court of Virginia issued the ruling declaring the order unconstitutional late Friday afternoon. In a 4-3 decision, the court says McAuliffe overstepped his clemency powers.

The executive order, issued in April, restored voting rights of felons who completed their sentences and also allowed them to run for public office, serve on a jury and become a notary public.

Republican lawmakers filed a lawsuit challenging the order.

The court ordered the state to cancel the registration of all felons under the order. More than 11,000 felons have registered to vote under the action.

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