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GOP claims McAuliffe defied Supreme Court

Republican General Assembly leaders are taking Gov. Terry McAuliffe back to court over his efforts to restore voting rights for convicted felons who have served their time.

The Republicans Wednesday announced they would ask the Supreme Court of Virginia to hold McAuliffe in contempt for failing to abide by terms of the court’s July 22 ruling that a governor must consider each request for rights restoration on an individual basis.

The GOP leaders say there is “no substantive difference” between McAuliffe’s original blanket rights restoration orders and his more recent use of printed individual restoration orders.

“The purpose, scope, and effect of his new process is precisely the same as the purpose, scope, and effect of the April, May, and June restoration orders struck down by this Court,” the Republicans said in their motion.

The GOP leaders ask the court to speed up proceedings on the contempt motion so a decision can be made by Sept. 24, when absentee ballots must be mailed for the Nov. 8 general election.

McAuliffe said in a statement that his administration will vigorously oppose Republicans’ “latest partisan action.”

Republicans have charged that McAuliffe used his rights restoration orders to pad voter rolls with likely Democratic voters in advance of the presidential election.

McAuliffe has called felon disenfranchisement a vestige of the state’s Jim Crow past because it disproportionately impacts African-Americans.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.