President-elect Trump recently alleged massive voter fraud in a number of states, including Virginia, where democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights for more than 67,000 former felons ahead of the November election. While many republicans criticized the move as a blatant attempt to secure votes for his long-time pal, Hillary Clinton, many others praised McAuliffe as a hero for civil rights who was trying to address an historic wrong that specifically targeted African Americans for felony disenfranchisement.
Restoring rights to those who have served their time is the right thing to do, however, the media focused on emotional stories of tearful ex-felons setting foot inside of the ballot box for the first time rather than examine what little practical impact the ability to vote would have in improving their lives. Supporting prisoner re-entry, removing barriers to employment such as occupational licensing requirements, and sending fewer people to jail for victimless crimes in the first place would have a far greater positive effect for improving the lot of ex-offenders.
Additionally, the right to vote in Virginia has even less value once you consider that residents do not even have access to the sort of ballot initiatives that residents in Colorado and elsewhere used to legalize marijuana.
Trump was correct about the existence of voter fraud in Virginia, but not the kind he claimed. The fraud that happened here is that so many voters have been duped into thinking that Terry McAuliffe is some sort of champion for civil rights or criminal justice reform.