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VA Gov Glenn Youngkin Accidentally, Probably Not On Purpose Purged Non-Felons From Voter Rolls
Republicans really don’t like it when people vote!
Next month is a key election in Virginia. Republicans regained both the governorship and control of the House of Delegates, but Democrats still maintain a narrow majority in the Senate. Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants nothing more than for Republicans to gain control over both chambers, as little could stop him from enacting his extreme right-wing agenda. This includes a 15-week abortion ban, which Youngkin has been hot to pass ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Virginia is currently the only Southern state without draconian abortion restrictions, and that’s probably a bummer for the pro-Gilead set. NBC News reported in August that Youngkin and his campaign team “believe that 15 weeks is a ‘consensus’ limit — one that many Virginians across political ideologies can agree upon. And they’re betting the measure is modest enough to avoid spikes in Democratic turnout more stringent bans have triggered in other states.”
It’s technically true that majorities of Americans support some abortion restrictions past 15 weeks. Yes, Roe permitted regulations during the second and third trimesters, but as conservative Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and David H. Souter wrote in 1992’s Casey decision: “The woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy before viability is the most central principle of Roe vs. Wade. It is a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce.”
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Stop Calling Glenn Youngkin 'Centrist,' 'Moderate,' Anything Other Than 'Radical Right-Wing Asshat'
The 15-week ban is mostly a total abortion ban in disguise, a manipulative, cynical attempt to appear reasonable and diminish the ongoing post-Dobbs turnout increases from pissed-off Democratic voters. Youngkin’s team has conducted all-women focus groups over the summer, presumably finding the right set of buzz words that will encourage women to surrender their rights … or more specifically the rights of people they don’t know and are conditioned to judge. It’s classic right-wing politics.
However, Youngkin doesn’t even seem to believe in his own strategy, because he’s reverting to a classic Republican gambit — preventing people from voting. In March, Youngkin overturned his Democratic predecessor Ralph Northam’s policy that had automatically restored voting rights to people convicted of felonies. Northam had returned the franchise to 69,000 people who’d served their time but Youngkin kept them second-class citizens.
According to Shawn Weneta, policy strategist at American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, Youngkin’s team has mostly shrugged its shoulders over concerns raised in June about wrongful disenfranchisement of voters.
Weneta told Axios, “If they don’t have this fixed tomorrow, there are going to be people that are showing up to vote who are not going to be registered and are going to vote with a provisional ballot that might not get counted.”
“There must be an immediate investigation by the US Department of Justice into how this happened in the run-up to a very consequential election next month,” Democratic state Rep. Bobby Scott added.
Virginia Commissioner of Elections Susan Beals confirmed Friday that 270 people were erroneously purged from voter rolls.
The problem affected voters who were convicted of felonies, had their voting rights restored and then went on to violate the terms of their probation. A quirk in the state’s computer system counted the probation violations as new felonies that disqualified them from voting.
Oh, yeah, it was just a “quirk.”
“We’re doing additional analysis to ensure every single voter who was affected is reinstated,” Beals said, if you are inclined to believe her.
The confirmed number is smaller than originally feared, but we shouldn’t discount the potential impact. As Sen. Scott Surovell from Fairfax points out, “In 2017, control of the Virginia House of Delegates was decided by drawing a film canister [with a candidate’s name] out of a bowl because the election was tied … So every one of these actions is critical in today’s Virginia electoral environment.”
If you’re a Virginia voter, make sure that you’re still registered to vote and make a definite plan to vote. It’s not hyperbole to say that the November election is a matter of life or death.
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