ALEXANDRIA, Va. - In April, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to felons who completed their sentence. On Wednesday, he met with those directly affected by the order.
The governor spoke in Alexandria where he led a roundtable discussion with community leaders about his April 22nd order to restore voting rights to all Virginians with a prior felony conviction who have completed their sentence and who are no longer on probation or parole.
McAuliffe explained that the day he restored voter rights for more than 200,000 ex-felons was probably his proudest day as governor. He said the decision was not about politics – it was about morality.
One person who had his rights restored because of the governor's order is Robert McNeil. The 62-year-old was released from prison in 2008 and will be voting for the first time in his life this fall.
“If you're convicted of a crime and you pay your debt to society for that crime, why should it last forever and take away your voting rights as well? It doesn't make sense,” said McNeil. “If it wasn't for the governor, we wouldn't have this opportunity.”
FOX 5 also spoke with McAuliffe about his thoughts about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the conviction of former governor Bob McDonnell, who had been convicted on federal corruption charges.
“I was happy,” McAuliffe said. “The Supreme Court ruled 8 to nothing. He made some mistakes. He took gifts he shouldn't have. He has admitted that and he has apologized for it, so my thoughts and prayers have been with the governor and his family for a very, very long time … It is time for us to move on.”