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McAuliffe says he's restored voting rights to 156,000, most by any US governor

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe gestures during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. McAuliffe joined the Women's Health Care Caucus to promote women's health legislation. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he's restored voting rights to more felons who have completed their sentences than any other governor.

McAuliffe announced Thursday he's restored voting and other civil rights to 156,000 felons, surpassing a total set by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's administration.

Last April McAuliffe issued an executive order restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons at once. But the Virginia's Supreme Court struck down that order months later, ruling that governors cannot restore rights en masse but must handle them on a case-by-case basis.

After the ruling, McAuliffe began restoring individual rights under a new process.

The governor, a Democrat who is set to leave office in January, has said he views his rights restoration efforts as one of his most important legacies.

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