University of Mary Washington Prof. Stephen Farnsworth predicted slight impact from the restoration and said the results not be as tilted toward Democrats as previously assumed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a significant number of Trump voters among those white citizens,” Farnsworth said. “But on balance I think this is going to help Democrats more than Republicans. It’s just that the impact is going to be pretty modest.”
Virginia has had some close statewide elections, though. Attorney General Mark Herring won in 2013 by 165 votes. Pres. Barack Obama won Virginia by just under 150,000 votes in 2012.
Virginia’s total population is about 20 percent black, though, compared to 46 percent of people whose rights were just restored. McAuliffe has said all along that the often difficult path to restoration was a vestige of Jim Crow, affecting minorities more than white offenders.
Farnsworth said Wednesday that, “clearly this action will do more to increase the potential African American electorate.”