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In a move that is being widely criticized as an attempted boost for the Democratic Party, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday signed an executive order allowing former felons to vote.

The Democratic governor is a longtime ally of the Clinton family, said Daniel Halper, online editor of The Weekly Standard.

“This is a huge hand, a huge helpful hand and a gift, really, right before the 2016 presidential election – adding 200,000 mostly Democrats to their rolls going ahead in what will be a crucial state for Hillary Clinton to win.”

“There is a legitimate case to make for this kind of action,” Halper continued, noting that the state’s restoration of voting rights could have been projected as an advance in the civil rights of ex-convicts.

But “Terry McAuliffe hasn’t been making that case publicly,” he added. “He did it by executive order, in a similar way that President Obama changes the immigration laws.”

Hillary Clinton later praised the governor for his decision on Twitter.

“It’s the politics behind it,” said Halper.

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