Kentucky Weighs Bill Restoring Felon Voting Rights

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Voters insert their printed ballots into an automated ballot box that scans and tallies the votes and deposits the printed ballots into a locked container. Division of Agriculture photo by Fred Miller

Nearly 6 percent  of Kentuckians are unable to vote due to a felony conviction, the fourth highest rate in the nation. Last year’s effort was stalled by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but lawmakers feel confident a constitutional amendment could be approved this year.

A group of organizations, including the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, the ACLU, and the American Probation and Parole Association, called Thursday for state legislators to approve a constitutional amendment that would give most felons back their voting rights once they have completed their sentences, reports the Messenger-Enquirer.

House Bill 232 has already been filed in Frankfort for consideration during this year’s legislative session and Officials from several organizations discussed the bill during a presentation of the League of Women Voters’ annual report on felony disenfranchisement in Kentucky.

The report found, despite a 2019 executive order by Gov. Andy Beshear to restore voting rights to some people with felony convictions, almost 200,000 people were blocked from voting by a felony last year.

Fran Wagner, president of the state League of Women Voters chapter, said 5.92 percent of state residents are unable to vote due to a felony conviction, the fourth highest in the nation. The report found 38,665 Black state residents have lost their right to vote because of a felony, which makes up 15.1 percent of the state’s Black population.

Additional reading: 10 States Have Expanded Voting Rights Since 2016

One thought on “Kentucky Weighs Bill Restoring Felon Voting Rights

  1. This sickens me that this is what Kentucky calls criminal justice reform. But, I am exuberant that this Bill could pass and should pass.
    Our oppressive government system from the Judge, the Prosecutor, a public defender to possibly attorneys all bow down and give leniency to all wealthy & what your last name is. From extremely low bonds to slaps on the wrists for serious offenses. The rest of us deal with high bails, horrific sentences and pressure to plead guilty. Nothing has changed here. County jail where I live is overcrowded with unsanitary conditions which locks all inmates down 23 hours a day in a room from 8-12 other inmates. COVID was a joke to them bc not 1 measure was taken to combat it.
    Nobody cares. I do. And I hate that people will not and do not stand up to fight the BS.

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