RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS

Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks about his April 22th order restoring the voting rights of an estimated 206,000 felons during a town hall on "Restoration of Voting Rights at 31st Street Baptist Church Thursday, May 12, 2016.

As of Tuesday morning, 3,933 felons had registered to vote since Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored their rights in a blanket order on April 22.

The Department of Elections will release updates weekly, according to Edgardo Cortés, commissioner of the department.

McAuliffe says his blanket order restored voting and civil rights to an estimated 206,000 felons who had served their time. The order also restored the ex-offenders’ rights to serve on juries, to run for office and to be notaries public.

McAuliffe says his order is meant to give ex-offenders a second chance and help return them to society while removing a vestige of Virginia’s discriminatory barriers to voting.

The McAuliffe administration has refused to release the ex-offenders’ names, saying they are exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

Republican leaders in the House of Delegates and state Senate have retained a lawyer to challenge the governor’s blanket order, which they say exceeds his authority under the state constitution.

GOP leaders also charge that McAuliffe’s order — announced just after legislators left town — was part of the governor’s efforts to help presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton win Virginia’s electoral votes in November.

acain@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6645

Twitter: @AndrewCainRTD

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