Va. Court Overturns Orders Allowing Felons to Vote | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Va. Court Overturns Orders Allowing Felons to Vote



    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe reacts to the state's highest court striking down an executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who've served their time. Darcy Spencer reports. (Published Friday, July 22, 2016)

    The Virginia Supreme Court overturned Gov. Terry McAuliffe's executive orders that allowed more than 200,000 convicted felons to vote in the state.

    In an order posted on the court's website late Friday, the court said the orders were unconstitutional and ordered election officials throughout the state not to enforce them.

    The orders in April by McAuliffe, a Democrat, had been challenged by Republican state lawmakers. They had ordered that voting rights could not be restored to a group, but had to be restored individually.

    McAuliffe said in a statment he would sign almost 13,000 individual orders for citizens who've already had their rights restored and registered to vote.

    Infants, Parents Should Share Room: New Guidelines

    [NATL] Infants, Parents Should Share Room: New Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety
    The American Academy of Pediatrics has released updated guidelines for new parents on infant sleep safety. Experts say room sharing could reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half and recommend babies sleep in a crib or bassinet in the parent's bedroom for at least the first six months and up to age 1. (Published 4 hours ago)

    Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. issued the following statement on the ruling:

    “The Supreme Court of Virginia delivered a major victory for the Constitution, the rule of law and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our nation was founded on the principles of limited government and separation of powers. Those principles have once again withstood assault from the executive branch. This opinion is a sweeping rebuke of the governor’s unprecedented assertion of executive authority. We are grateful to the justices of the Supreme Court for their prompt and thorough attention to this case.”

    McAuliffe had said his actions would help undo Virginia's long history of trying to suppress votes.

    "Too often in both our distant and recent history, politicians have used their authority to restrict people's ability to participate in our democracy," McAuliffe said in a statement earlier this year.

    Baby Lemur Makes London Zoo Debut

    [NATL-DFW] Baby Lemur Makes London Zoo Debut

    London Zoo is welcoming the first ever baby aye-aye lemur just in time for Halloween.

    The creepy-looking creature was actually born on July 1 but has only emerged from its secluded nesting box for the first time this week.

    The species of lemur (formally known as Daubentonia madagascariensis) are unique in that they have an unusually large middle finger and are associated with doom in their native Madagascar. Natives there believe that if an aye-aye points its long finger at you, death is not far away.

    Zookeepers expressed their excitement at the birth although they only saw the baby recently as it has been hiding in its nest box.

    (Published 33 minutes ago)

    Critics accused him of trying to pad voter rolls before Election Day.

    But McAuliffe has already had to rescind the right to vote from 132 sex offenders who were mistakenly added back to the state's list of eligible voters, even though they were still in civil confinement.

    McAuliffe has made the restoration of rights of former convicts a priority of his administration. Before his executive orders, the administration had restored the rights of more than 18,000 felons, which officials said is more than the past seven governors combined. 

    The Washington-based Sentencing Project estimates that almost 6 million Americans are barred from voting because of laws disenfranchising former felons.

    Such policies disproportionately prevent African Americans from voting, the group says. Virginia is among three states where more than one in five black adults have lost their voting rights, according to a recent Sentencing Project report.