Jordan Candler / June 6, 2016

Killing the Vote

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is playing a dangerous game.

By any methodical standard, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s effort to turn Virginia blue is off to an agonizingly — and dare we say inevitably — poor start.

In April, the Democrat governor reinstated voting rights to some 200,000 ex-convicts. One of the concerns raised by opponents was the unintended consequences that would accompany McAuliffe’s decision — such as the recently discovered loophole that erroneously reinstated the voting rights of current felons, including rapists and murderers.

Here are some of their profiles, via The Washington Post:

“Ronald R. Cloud, 68, was in prison in West Virginia for sexual assaults involving a child when he pleaded guilty in 2014 to the murder of a Fauquier County man in a three-decade-old cold case. Daniel Harmon-Wright, 36, was a Culpeper police officer when he shot a Sunday school teacher in her Jeep as the vehicle drove away. … Cecil Leonard Hopkins … strangled his girlfriend and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. … Two others — Virgil J. Dantic, 77, and Frank P. Ferrara, 52 — are serving time in Virginia prisons for sex crimes, records show.”

Even more disconcerting, the Post says that “McAuliffe’s spokesman … could not say how many people had mistakenly been given back voting rights while serving sentences in other states.” That’s interesting because, the Post adds, “The administration said only felons who had served their time and completed parole would win back the right to vote and be permitted to resume other aspects of civic life, such as serving on a jury or running for public office.” Oops?

There’s a legitimate discussion to be had on the merits of restoring some ex-felons’ voting rights. But what’s been revealed in Virginia is a dangerous game to play — particularly when the motivation is getting Hillary Clinton elected as the next president.

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