Poll: Kentuckians support restoring felon voting rights

Bluegrass Poll | Kentucky supports restoring felon voting rights

From The Courier Journal

A majority of Kentucky voters say they favor amending the state constitution to allow convicted felons to regain their right to vote once they serve their full sentences.

A poll of 616 registered voters taken Feb. 19-21 by SurveyUSA for The Courier-Journal found that 51 percent favored such an amendment, while 38 percent opposed it. The poll question had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Many Kentuckians appear to share the view of Thomas Vance, 62, a disabled retired Air Force master sergeant who lives in Alexandria. In a follow-up interview, Vance said denying felons the vote after they serve their sentence is “piling on.”

“It is just not fair,” he said. “If I did my time, that should be the end of it.”

Kentucky is one of only five states that bar all felons from the polls unless their voting rights are restored through a pardon from the governor or another agency.

Thirty-six states automatically restore voting rights for ex-felons, and two allow felons to vote by absentee ballot from prison. The others impose waiting periods.

The Kentucky House for six straight years — including this one — has passed a bill to restore voting rights to some felons, but Republican leaders in the Senate have blocked it from coming to a vote.

Supporters of House Bill 70, which passed the House 75-25 Wednesday and would put a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights on the ballot, said they hope the poll results will prompt the Senate to pass the bill.

To read the rest of the story, visit The Courier Journal's website here. 

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