KFTC Blog

Powerful Voting Rights Lobby Day in Frankfort today

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 19, 2019

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Today nearly 100 KFTC members and close allies gathered in Frankfort to talk to legislators about restoring voting rights to people with felonies in their past and push for a constitutional amendment that would recognize the right to vote of 312,000 Kentuckians who can't vote now because of our felony disenfranchisement law that is out of step with the rest of the United States. Dozens of the people who came out talked about the issue from first hand experience, having the right to vote in Kentucky taken away from them. 

We had meetings with over 30 legislators and built up support for the issue with Democrats and Republicans alike, including many legislators who just got elected for the first time this last November. The vast majority of senators and representatives we talked to said they were in favor of restoring voting rights.

print-9844About 80% of  people at the capitol today were new to grassroots lobbying and had never talked to their legislators. That means that an awful lot of people gained key experience that we'll need as we build up support throughout this year and in the 2020 General Assembly. 

Numerous bills in favor of voting rights have been filed in both the House and Senate this year. KFTC isn't endorsing any particular bill but instead is pushing for the strongest, "cleanest" bill we can get that would restore voting rights to everyone with a felony in their past as soon as they compete prison time, probation and parole. We think of this year as a rebuilding year to grow grassroots support and a network of allies around this issue, so we can collectively make a stronger push in 2020. 

g20190219_123530Allies who were a part of the day were the Kentucky Council of Churches who held a prayer day of action focused on the issue, Kentucky ACLU of Kentucky that brought out numerous people directly affected by this issue to tell their stories, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. 

Many of our members also came out to the Black History Celebration led by the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus.

If you had to miss the day, you can still call the legislative message line and let your representative and senator know you care about this issue. Just call 800-372-7181, and the operator can help you leave a message. The message should be something simple like “I support restoration of voting rights for all people with felonies in their past.” Go ahead and add that number to your cell phone!

On Twitter and Facebook, you can contribute to the conversation about this issue using the hashtags #LetUsVote #Stand4KY and #kyga19.

print-9826You can also download our new voting rights factsheet or download our petition to use at meetings and gather support for this cause. 

Our next major event is tentatively a Voting Rights Rally on March 13 in the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort. Feel free to save the date.

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Nonviolent Direct Action Resources

Posted by: Michael Harrington on February 14, 2019

Throughout the month of January, KFTC sponsored my participation in a deep-dive course about Nonviolent Direct Action.

KFTC Steering Committee Discuss Organizing for Racial Justice

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 12, 2019

Racial justice and organizing for the 2019 and 2020 elections were the focus for KFTC Steering Committee members and guests as they met in Berea on February 2.

KFTC members and allies claim the House, meet with Bevin

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 5, 2019

Chanting “Whose House? The people’s House! Whose House? Our House!” KFTC members sent a message to legislators and the governor that Kentuckians have a right to be in the capitol.

As the legislature resumed on February 5 after a recess, members were in Frankfort to lead a series of “spontaneous” mini rallies that started small and grew in number as participants moved throughout the capitol annex toward the governor’s office. Why mini-rallies? One of Gov. Matt Bevin's new regulations to limit public participation defines a rally as four or more people.

Water Justice Field Hearing

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on February 4, 2019

More than 110 people turned out on February 2 to affirm the need for clean and safe drinking water.

LG&E/KU rate case attempts to alter reality

An electric meter in the winter
Posted by: Steve Wilkins on February 1, 2019

Over the past several years, Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) have pushed legislation that would eliminate net metering

Voting Rights Updates and Actions!

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 30, 2019

Voting Rights Meeting 1-5-19

It's been an energetic last few weeks re-igniting the KFTC Voting Rights campaign to restore voting rights to people with felonies in their past.
  • On Monday night, we had a webinar with 45 registered participants.  We reviewed the history and moment we're in for this issue, talked about paths forward, and heard personal stories from 6 people who have lost the right to vote and are fighting to get it back.  You can watch the video here or just see the slideshow here.
  • We created a powerful short video including interviews from 5 people with felonies in their past, telling their stories.
  • We recruited 6 new plaintiffs to a lawsuit arguing that the current felony disenfranchisement process is unconstitutionally arbitrary.
  • HR1 had a national hearing this Monday.  Thats'a  bill that, among other things, would restore voting rights to all people who have served their time for purposes of voting in federal elections.
  • In the Kentucky legislature, we worked with Representative George Brown and Representative Charles Booker to re-write a version of a voting rights bill that is as "clean" and simple as possible, restoring voting rights to everyone when they're served their debt to society.  Supporting this bill is likely to be our primary path to victory over the next few years.
  • We completed a survey to all candidates for Governor asking them their position on this issue, wo we can let people know leading up to the May primary election. 

But there's far more to come as the Legislative Session gets underway in frankfort next week.  Please consider coming out to some of the below events or taking action from home to advance this issue. 


Upcoming Events

KFTC Lobby Day - 2/5 - Broader than just Voting Rights, this is a day of action at the capitol around democracy and related issues.   Voting Rights Lobby Day 2/19 - This is our focused lobby day on voting rights where we'll be working through all 138 legislators and trying to build support and identify who's with us and who still needs convincing in the legislature.  We hope you can come.  There's also a Facebook event you can circulate.

Hailing Cesar NKU screening

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on January 24, 2019

This past Wednesday the Northern Kentucky chapter joined other organizations for a celebration of Cesar Chavez Day at Northern Kentucky University.

Threats to democratic participation define first week of 2019 General Assembly

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 19, 2019

Looking forward to making some positive impact in the 2019 General Assembly, KFTC members instead found efforts to limit public participation in the fundamental institutions and practices of our democracy.

Many members of KFTC and other groups were in the capitol and the adjacent capitol annex (where legislators have their offices and most committee meetings are held) for the first day of the session on January 8. The Kentucky Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and the Kentucky Council of Churches held events in the capitol rotunda that many participated in.

Others came to welcome new and returning legislators, especially several House representatives who had received active support from KFTC members during their campaigns. Among those was Jim Glenn, who won by one vote. Speculation was that House Republican leaders might refuse to seat Glenn since they are working to overturn his election.

Lawsuit to restore Voting Rights in Kentucky looking for additional plaintiffs

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 18, 2019

KFTC's primary strategy for restoring voting rights to Kentuckians with felonies in their past is to change Kentucky's Constitution to permanently grant the right to vote to all 312,000 Kentuckians who don't have the right to vote now. KFTC's Voting Rights Strategy Team, made up of directly effected people and other members from all over the state, decided additionally get involved in a lawsuit arguing that the current system is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Our most immediate task is to find people who have lost their right to vote to join our list of plaintiffs for the case. 

If you do not have the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement in Kentucky and you're off of probation and parole, and you'd like to join the lawuit as a plaintiff, please reach out to Dave Newton as soon as possible at Dave@kftc.org or 859-420-8919.  Our deadline to reach out to people to add them is Friday, January 25.

Below is the press release sent out by our allies about the case.

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