Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Monday restored the voting rights of 13,000 felons, an effort that defies both the state's Supreme Court and Republican legislators.
McAuliffe, a Democrat, made the announcement at the Civil Rights Memorial in Richmond, Va.
The action comes roughly a month after the Supreme Court of Virginia, in a 4-3 decision in response to a GOP lawsuit, invalidated his April executive order that restored voting rights to roughly 206,000 felons who had completed their sentences.
Speaking Monday afternoon, McAuliffe called the voting rights restoration "an issue of basic justice."
"The Virginia Constitution is clear. I have the authority to restore civil rights without limitation," he said. "I personally believe in the power of second chances."
"I am not content to condemn them for eternity as inferior, second class citizens," he added.
The 13,000 felons who had their voting rights restored Monday had already registered to vote prior to the state Supreme Court decision.
McAuliffe said Monday that moving forward his office will review each former felon on a case by case basis in an effort restore all eligible persons.
Gov: “For citizens eager to have their rights restored – contact us directly thru SOC’s website: https://t.co/uAPlHxAAym” #VARoR— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) August 22, 2016