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Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe is defending his decision to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons who have served their time and paid their debt to society.

McAuliffe says laws restricting felons’ rights were a burden for African-Americans, but many Republicans say McAuliffe’s actions are an effort to help support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her run for the White House.

McAuliffe has deep ties to both of the Clintons. He served as the co-chairman of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

McAuliffe told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that politics has nothing to do with his executive order. While speaking with George Stephanopoulos, Gov. McAuliffe said, “It wasn’t politics, it was the right thing to do morally.”

He continued, “If I were to do this for political reasons, I would have done it last year when I had my general assembly up and if I’d picked up 5,000 more votes, I’d have control of the state senate.”

“I would tell the Republicans quit complaining and go out and earn these folks’ right to vote for you — go out and talk to them.”

On Tuesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, guest host Angela Rae and the discussion panel took a look at Gov. McAuliffe’s historic move to restore voting rights to ex-felons and addressed some of the larger implications this decision will have.

Cherylyn Harley LeBon, President and CEO of KLAR Strategies, LLC, took issue with Gov. McAuliffe’s executive order, saying, “It’s great when people can have their voting rights restored, but there’s always been a distinction between non-violent and violent [offenders].”

“The problem I have is with the violent offenders, because in this particular case, they don’t have to pay court fees or restitution to the victims,” LeBon said.

She continued, “There is no distinction between non-violent and violent offenders and I have a problem with the violent offenders who are murderers, armed robbers, rapists, and other sexual offenders who automatically have their voting rights restored.”

Watch guest host Angela Rae and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s decision to restore voting rights to 200,000 ex-felons in the video clip above.

Sound off: Do you believe McAuliffe’s decision was politically motivated, or do you take issue with there being no distinction between non-violent and violent offenders under the executive order issued to restore their voting rights?

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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Virginia Gov. Responds To Critics After Restoring Voting Rights To Felons  was originally published on