Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has restored the voting rights of 790 felons after streamlining the process implemented by his predecessor, Ernie Fletcher. Beshear said in March that he was eliminating steps Fletcher imposed, including requiring felons to obtain three recommendations and to write a letter saying why they deserved to have their rights restored. “As governor, I have re-instituted the process that previous governors — with the exception of Gov. Fletcher — had used to restore felons’ rights,” Beshear said.
Those rights include the right to vote and to run for public office. The restoration does not erase convicts’ records or permit them to own weapons. Fletcher restored the rights of 1,098 felons during his four years as governor, according to Grayson’s office. That compares to 7,254 convicts who had their rights restored under former Gov. Paul Patton — the first governor in modern times to serve two terms — and 1,536 under former Gov. Brereton Jones. The 790 felons who have had their rights restored by Beshear include at least eight murderers and 14 rapists.