KFTC Blog | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth


Voting Rights campaign update

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 11, 2019


Even as the 2019 governor’s election looms close, KFTC members are continuing the fight to restore voting rights of people with felonies. The campaign is gaining momentum and getting stronger every week.

Here are a few highlights of recent work:

Brennan Center Voting Rights Summit in New York – KFTC leaders Debbie Graner, Lois Gillespie, and KFTC Fellow Tayna Fogle visited New York as delegates from Kentucky to talk about local voting rights work. They networked with key allies across the country, who were all very interested in the work of KFTC and allies in Kentucky, and brought back some good ideas while sharing plenty of their own.

The Roots and Heritage Festival in Lexington – Kentucky’s largest annual Black community festival was a place KFTC members talked to many people about the Voting Rights issue. In all, 677 people signed the voting rights petition and KFTC connected with dozens of people who are being denied the right to vote. Three candidates for statewide office came by KFTC’s booth to express their support, including gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear.  

Roots and Heritage 2019 - 9/8-19

Rally for Recovery in Louisville – Friends at People Advocating Recovery and Young People in Recovery held a powerful Rally for Recovery in Louisville in September. Volunteers with KFTC, Poor People's Campaign and others registered voters, passed out voter guides and circulated petitions for restoration of voting rights for people with felonies in their past. In all, 242 people signed the petition and members talked to many people, including Alaina Combs of the Healing Place who spoke out at the Rally for Voting Rights in Frankfort earlier this year and has won her right to vote and will be voting this November 5!

Voting Rights Presentation with the Lexington Quakers – Led by Rolling Bluegrass Chapter leaders Rosanne Klarer and Amelia Cloud, people shared stories and discussed Voting Rights at this public meeting.

Sing for Democracy in northern Kentucky – Northern Kentucky KFTC members brought MUSE Cincinnati Women's Choir and other powerful performers out to sing, punctuated by stories from people who are being denied the right to vote. Participants also heard from tenants fighting an absent management company, a 16-year-old talking about the need for youth to be engaged and elders to listen, and other stories.

Phone banks to likely supporters – KFTC members across the state tried out a new strategy to call voters and talk to them about this issue, asking them to virtually sign onto the petition for voting rights if they support it. To be part of that effort reach out to Dave Newton at 859-420-8919 or Dave@kftc.org

Presentations at Centre College – Nia Dye and others made two presentations about Voting Rights at Centre College in Danville in connection with the Bonner Scholars, and helped circulate the petition there.

Petition drives in Berea – Berea KFTC members collected hundreds of petition signatures in support of Voting Rights in recent months at a variety of events.
Jim Gearhart and Corbin on Power to the People

NAACP’s Power to the People – Jim Gearhart, a KFTC Democracy Leader from western Kentucky appeared on the NAACP's Power to the People program to talk about voter engagement, including Restoration of Voting Rights for people with felonies in their past.

In all, more than 4,000 people have signed the Voting Rights Petition this year. Supporters can sign online at www.KFTC.org/VotingRights. Members are encouraged to also share the petition online and ask friends and neighbors to sign it, or print off petitions from that website and circulate them.  

Looking ahead, the 2019 election is the largest opportunity to move this issue forward. KFTC will be mobilizing supporters of this issue and others to vote, and building electoral muscles for when the voting rights issue gets on the ballot in a few years.

Go to www.KentuckyElection.org to see where candidates stand on voting rights and other issues. The governor’s race and the secretary of state’s race are particularly important for this issue.  

KFTC's New Power PAC endorsed Andy Beshear for governor, partially because he pledged to sign an executive order restoring voting rights to many thousands of Kentuckians with felonies in their past. Matt Bevin, our current governor, actually made it harder for people to get their rights back when he first took office.

Supports also can volunteer with local KFTC chapters to work phone banks, go door-to-door, pass out voter guides at events and give people rides to the polls on Election Day.  

Starting in January, members will be back in the state capitol lobbying legislators on this issue, and there are many ways for members and supporters to plug into the effort then.

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Reflections on the Georgetown Fairness victory

Photo taken by Mary Meehan of WEKU Radio. Danny Woolums, Jr, Georgeotwn native and CKY member, speaks about the need for Fairness at Georgetown Council meeting.
Posted by: Willow Hambrick on October 11, 2019

Georgetown passed a fairness ordinance on September 9, becoming the 13th Kentucky city to do so. Since writing this, Versailles became the next city to pass a fairness ordinance, and Highland Heights has had its first reading, with a second reading is scheduled for the 15th.

I am a retired public school teacher, an adjunct professor at Georgetown College, a mother of five children (two of whom are gay), and a grandmother to seven. My husband, a local pediatrician, and I both spoke in favor of the ordinance.

Voter Registration Deadline TODAY (Tuesday 10/7/19)

Posted by: KFTC Staff on October 7, 2019

EKU Voter Registration 9-17-19Today, Monday 10/7, is the Voter Registration Deadline in Kentucky;

If you're not registered or need to update your voter address because you've moved, get down to your local County Clerk's office or register online.

If you want to check your voter registration status just to be safe, visit the Voter Information Center

You can register or update your voting address online by 4pm today local time or by getting a voter registration card in the mail to your County Clerk postmarked today. 

Note that students who are away from home going to school have the right to either use a permanent home address or temporary local address as their voting address, but we encourage students to consider registering locally especially if home is far away.   You'll be at school on election day and it's easier to just walk right down the street and vote as opposed to going home or voting absentee. 

Note that 17 year-olds can register to vote if they will by 18 on or before November 5.

Whereas people with felonies in their past have their right to vote taken from them in Kentucky (unless they get a pardon from the Governor), people with misdemeanors in their past or people who are pre-trial in jails do have the right to register and vote.

Also, check out www.KentuckyElection.org to learn about candidates and where they stand on issues!

Climate Strike Reflections

Photo taken by member Kirsten Schwarz
Posted by: Maria Truitt on September 23, 2019

As much as humanity believes the ideology that we are invincible, that is obviously not the case.

NKY Sustainability Tour Saturday!

Posted by: Maria Truitt on September 18, 2019

Join Kentuckians For The Commonwealth this Saturday, September 21, for our first ever Sustainability Tour around the heart of Covington! We will be visiting key places around town that are using sustainable practices in their business and strategies that could be used all around to make a eco-friendlier community. Environmental policies will also be a point of discussion, such as how SNAP and double dollars can be used to promote local agriculture, on-bill financing of energy improvements, increase access to local foods, public transit, clean energy and opportunity act, and more – come learn with us! The tour will end with a hike on the Licking River Greenway Trails, a chance to appreciate our Mother Earth and recapture on all that was discussed earlier in the day.

SRO's: There's a better way

Posted by: Anastasia Kaufmann on September 11, 2019

Jefferson County Public Schools has ended its contract with the local police and sheriff departments to directly provide “school resource officers” or SROs.

JCPS Student Assignment Plan: What's most equitable for our kids?

Posted by: Anastasia Kaufmann on September 11, 2019

We all want the same thing for our kids: for them to be able to go to a school that’s the right fit for them, a school that will give them a great education in an environment that’s safe for all students and staff.

The Jefferson County School Board is currently considering decisions that will have an impact on every student in Jefferson County Public Schools. We want to make sure that they hear from us all about how these decisions will impact our kids and all students.

The Student Assignment Plan

Right now, any student who is not accepted to a magnet or other special school program attends their “reside” school. For most students, that means a school close to where they live. But students in West Louisville have been assigned to “satellite resides” in order to increase diversity – their “reside” school is often on the other side of the county from them!

Why speaking out should matter to everyone

Posted by: Jessica Shorkey on September 5, 2019

Last Monday, August 26, 2019, started out as just another workday for me. I was tired. I’d been working a lot lately, and I had many chores to do at home. I had grocery shopping to do.

Who is in office matters for protecting our water quality

Posted by: Maria Truitt on August 26, 2019

The Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is a water pollution control agency established in 1948 among eight states that border the Ohio River.

Consumers hurt by loss of weatherization program options

Posted by: Rachel Norton on August 26, 2019

The energy industry experiences constant fluctuations in demand, technology and structure. In the past three years, electricity has remained inexpensive in our state.

Voting Rights Campaign updates

Posted by: KFTC Staff on August 21, 2019

Debra Graner leading the Second Chances: Voting Rights for People with Felonies in Their Past workshop.Our campaign to restore voting rights to 312,000 people with felonies in their past continues to move forward as we enter election season, with work happening all over the state.

We asked candidates for Governor and Secretary of State about where they stand on this issue. Read those responses, and learn more about all of the statewide candidates on the ballot this fall, at our voter guide.

Our work to register and educate voters this year and build our electoral muscles is absolutely key to winning this issue. We plan on registering more than 2,000 voters, and talking with 62,500 voters in the next few months. It’s a big job, but it’s worth it. You can find ways to get involved or support this work here


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