Kentucky is one of only four states that ban former felons from voting, ranking third in the rate of disenfranchisement overall and first in disenfranchisement of African-Americans. Many states allow persons to vote once their sentences have been served and some never take away voting rights, allowing prisoners to vote.
“I’ve always been guided by the principle of looking at what people do, not what they say,” said [Rep. Darryl] Owens, who has sponsored bills in recent sessions to allow automatic restoration of civil rights for felons (with some exceptions including violent crimes and sexual offenses) upon completion of all terms of their sentences.
We took our climate justice work to the world stage at the COP21 climate talks in Paris, helped pass a minimum wage increase in Lexington, and moved the needle on voting rights. And in communities across Kentucky, we raised our voices for renters’ rights, environmental protection, racial justice and more.
Members gathered all over the state, from Madison County to Whitesburg to Covington to Lexington, last night to watch, process, and come up with action plans to push for adequate funding for health care and preserving kynect and Medicaid expansion, access to higher ed, protecting the arts, and community health.
Gov. Matt Bevin’s legal reasoning may have been fuzzy, but his moral obligation is now clear: When the legislature convenes, the new Republican governor must overcome roadblocks within his party to restoring the voting rights of felons who have paid their debts to society.
KFTC Chairperson Dana Beasley Brown opened the first We Are Kentuckians rally in Frankfort by sharing a vision of healthy communities, good jobs, the best health care, fairness, racial justice and a healthy environment across Kentucky.
“Our collective voice is so important in this political landscape – the voice of real people. We’re churning our dreams – you and me – with people all over our commonwealth. And we have the solutions that can make them a reality,” Beasley Brown told the crowd of 200 gathered in the capitol rotunda on January 5, the first day of the 2016 General Assembly.
Let’s start the new year off with a declaration at our Capitol!
We have a shared vision for Kentucky. We have momentum, with raising the wage in Lexington and restoring voting rights. Now is the time for us to work even harder together, to grow stronger, and build new power.
Be in Frankfort on January 5th to shout our vision for a better Kentucky.
Kentuckians throughout the state are elated that Gov. Steve Beshear has taken steps to restore the voting rights for tens of thousands of state residents.
“Pretty awesome,” is how KFTC member Mantell Stevens reacted to the news. “To be able to vote means a lot to me. I always encourage people to vote, but now I can lead by example. I tell my nieces and nephews the importance of voting, but I could never vote myself.
“To be able to actually go and vote and to show them the importance of participating in democracy will mean so much to me,” added Stevens, who lost his right to vote in 2000 after spending 30 days in jail and three years on probation for a drug possession charge.