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Voter Suppression is Violence – stop Senate Bill 2

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 23, 2020

x20200122_102707KFTC members were in Frankfort and on the phones yesterday to fight Senate Bill 2, a photo voter ID law designed to make it harder for some Kentuckians to vote by creating new hurdles for them. It’s especially troubling for young, elderly, low income and people of color communities – people who are less likely to have or need a photo ID. 

SB 2 is supposed to make it harder for people to impersonate someone else on election day. But even the bill's supporters at the hearing couldn't come up with even one example this century of any time anyone tried to do that in Kentucky.

To address this non-existent problem, they’re trying to pass a complicated 66-page bill that restructures a lot of our voting process and they’re trying to do it all in a hurry.

We ought to be making it easier for citizens to vote, though, not harder.

x20200122_115538Over 400 KFTC members called legislators to oppose the bill yesterday, and 20 of us were there in the committee hearing with "No on SB 2" and "Voter Suppression is Violence" stickers that were very visible.

Willie Perkins, a KFTC member from Lexington who doesn’t have an ID, was there. “I’m afraid they’re going to try to prevent me from voting,” he said. Willie doesn’t have a photo ID and while he’s been trying to get one, he doesn’t know if he’ll have it in time.

Our allies from ACLU, the County Clerk's Association, League of Women Voters and Catholic Conference testified against the bill and have been working to make it less bad. But no changes to the bill would be better than simply not passing it.

Newly elected Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, who’s been pushing the bill, also celebrated how “nice” the tone of the hearing was. But voter suppression IS violence and some people in the room remarked that we shouldn’t always be so "nice" in the face of it.

20200122_104610Senator Morgan McGarvey asked if Adams could cite even one case of someone impersonating a voter in Kentucky (he couldn't) and asked whether it's reasonable to build a massive infrastructure that keeps people from voting to address a problem that doesn't even exist.

Adams countered that people might try to impersonate voters in the future and it makes sense to address the problem before it happens. And he said that there's a perception that this kind of voter fraud exists, so passing this law would increase confidence in the electoral system. Adams also implied that former president Jimmy Carter supports mandatory photo IDs for voting (he does not). 

Senator Johnny Ray Turner said that lots of people in Eastern Kentucky are born at home (including his wife). She's had a hard time getting a birth certificate, even as connected as she is. So many people will fail to get an appropriate ID.

x20200122_130303KFTC Democracy Fellow Tayna Fogle caught Adams after the committee meeting and told her story, pushing against SB 2. “It's my job to bring people into the Democracy and to tell them Democracy works. But Democracy didn't work today,” she said.

SB 2 passed Senate State and Local Government 8-3 yesterday along a party-line vote. It passed the full Senate today, 29-9.

ACTION NEEDED: There’s still time to stop SB 2 in the House. Call the Legislative Message Line (800-372-7181) and leave a message for your representative (the operator can help you figure out who that is if you don’t know) and “members of House Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.” The message is “Please OPPOSE SB 2.”

The message line is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on days the legislature meets (except only until 4 p.m. on Fridays). We’re trying to get as many calls in as soon as possible!

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Voting Rights Coalition gathers to set the stage for 2020

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 13, 2020

Voting Rights Coalition Meeting 1/13/19

Over 40 people from 22 organizations gathered yesterday in Frankfort to celebrate our recent victories around voting rights, come to a shared understanding of Beshear’s executive order, to plan our work in the General Assembly to pass a robust constitutional amendment, and to start to think about how we can work together to register the estimated 140,000 Kentuckians who just regained the right to vote.

Our legislative focus between now and April 15 will by on HB 6, Charles Booker’s bill to restore voting rights to all Kentuckians after they’ve served their time.  This bill is still needed because it doesn’t have the same exclusions as Beshear’s Executive order and it would be permanent. 

To make a difference in this campaign in just a few minutes, you can call the Legislative Message Line (800-372-7181) and leave a message for your senator and representative, plus House and Senate Leadership to say that you “support HB 6.”

How do I know if Beshear's executive order restored my right to vote?

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 13, 2020


Our allies at the Camaign Legal Center put together a great tool to help people figure out if Steve Beshear's Executive Orderapplies to them or not. www.Restoreyourvote.org


It asks a series of questions to determine if someone can register to vote, and if so, connects you with an online voter registration portal. For people excluded from the executive order but who have served their time, there's still the option of requesting voting rights through an individual partial pardon from the Governor.


Exclusions in the executive order are:

You can run for office (and win) - Filing deadline is Friday Jan 10th

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 7, 2020

IMG_1457We don't always get the candidates we want or deserve.  Sometimes bad politicians go unopposed on election day or we're forced to choose between the "lesser of two evils."  We do the best we can with the candidates we have, keeping our eyes on our vision and longterm meaningful political change, but our voter work sure is more fun and more impactful with great candidates. 

We are Kentuckians.  We are our own best chance for change.  Maybe we're the candidates we've been waiting for.  Maybe you know and respect someone who would run for office if you encouraged them to.  Maybe it's time that you run for office yourself.

Kentucky Political Party Change Deadline - Dec 31

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 23, 2019

In 2020, all state representative seats and half of our state senate seats are up for lection in addition to all US house of representative seats and one US Senate seat (currently held by Mitch McConnell)

If you're already registered in Kentucky, Monday Dec 31 is the last day top "lock in" your political party choice for purposes of voting in May primary elections for those races or for purposes of becoming a candidate in one of those races.

Statement from the Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition on the victory and path ahead

Posted by: Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition on December 23, 2019


On December 12, Governor Andy Beshear helped Kentucky take a historic step forward. With the twirl of a pen, 140,000 previously disenfranchised members of our commonwealth were re-empowered with the right to vote. Years of conversations, meetings, phone calls, and work by people with felonies in their past created the grassroots support needed to bring us to this moment.

Over a hundred of us attended and cheered as the governor signed the order and stated his support for a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights. There is much to be lauded about this act, including the explicit exclusion of any requirement that fines and fees be paid to qualify for restoration. 140,000 is truly a huge number, and a step towards helping disenfranchised people regain a sense of normalcy within society.

This is what a healthy democracy is about – allowing people who have a stake in the decisions made by elected officials to have a voice in deciding who those officials are. It’s fundamental to who we are as a state and a nation.

We, the Kentucky Voter Rights Restoration Coalition, are a network of 30+ similarly minded community groups working to ensure that every person who is denied the right to vote has that right restored. We believe that once a person has served their time, they have the right to re-engage with society.

Big Voting Rights Win - Executive Action

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 17, 2019

Governor Andy Beshear's Executive Action of Voting Rights SigningOn Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order to restore voting rights for an estimated 140,000 people with felonies in their past.  It’s an overwhelming and powerful victory 15 years in the making that has the potential to deepen our Democracy in Kentucky.  And with a truer Democracy, so much is possible.

Debbie's Reflections on Today's Inauguration

Posted by: Debbie Graner on December 10, 2019

2.13.19_Voting_Rights_Rally-0456Today, I stood in the cold for hours at Andy Beshear’s inauguration because I believe in democracy, and I’m really proud of his win and what it means for the future of Kentucky. I worked hard with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth to get him elected, making phone calls and talking to people on their doorstep. But I couldn't vote for him.

A reflection of my first two southern Kentucky chapter meetings

Posted by: Shirlisa Arnold on December 5, 2019

I wasn't sure what to expect from my first SOKY chapter meeting.

KFTC receives many disputed records from open records case with Public Service Commission

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 4, 2019

When anti-rooftop solar bill SB 100 passed the state legislature in 2019, members of the KFTC New Energy and Transition Committee feared that the Kentucky Public Service Commission might

Reflections from the first Empower Kentucky Leadership Network retreat

Posted by: Maria Truitt on November 25, 2019

To be in a room filled with so much talent and passion. Openness to have difficult conversations, and brilliance in finding solutions to heavy issues.

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