Voting Rights News

Rally for Voting Rights makes an impact

March 13, 2019 at 09:06pm

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g20190313_145053Today's Rally for Voting Rights in Frankfort was a strong combination – THIRTY organizational cosponsors, FOURTEEN people with felonies in their past telling their stories under the capitol dome, SIX media outlets covering the event, about 175 attendees, and with all that we built a lot of momentum and awareness for our fight for Voting Rights.

Day of Empathy lays the foundation for ending mass incarceration

March 5, 2019 at 09:14pm

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Justice should heal. That's why we joined allies in Frankfort Tuesday for cut50's #DayofEmpathy.

Voting Rights bill comes up for a hearing in House

February 26, 2019 at 09:12pm

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On Monday, members of the House Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee heard a voting rights bill to restore the right to vote to people with felonies in their past who have served their debt to society.

Primary sponsor Representative George Brown was joined by Representative Charles Booker and Representative Jason Nemes as a united and bipartisan front of legislators testifying in favor of the bill.

Even more powerfully, Shelton McElroy, Tayna Fogle and Amanda Hall testified and shared their personal stories as some of the 312,000 people who lost the right to vote in Kentucky. Allies at the League of Women voters also testified, citing recent studies showing the breadth and depth of Kentucky's peculiar disenfrancisement laws, and the overwhelming public support to overturn them. 

Voting Rights Coalition forges a path forward

February 24, 2019 at 08:13pm

Votin Rights Coalition Meeting 2-24-19

 Today, we had our first Voting Rights Coalition meeting! Twenty-six people from 19 organizations came out to get to know each other and to start to forge a path forward to win the right to vote of 312,000 Kentucky citizens with felonies in their past.

There was a lot of good will and great ideas in the room and we're now together with a shared analysis and rough path forward.

About 25 additional organizations are interested in joining the conversation or have been in conversation with us on the issue, but weren't able to make it out to this meeting. It's a solid start.

Next stop, tomorrow's committee hearing for HB 91 at 2 p.m. in Capitol Annex room 171.

Powerful Voting Rights lobby day in Frankfort

February 19, 2019 at 09:13pm

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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.

Voting Rights Updates and Actions!

January 30, 2019 at 06:39pm

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.

Lawsuit to restore Voting Rights in Kentucky looking for additional plaintiffs

January 18, 2019 at 01:51pm

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.

Northern Kentucky MLK Events

Join us on Sunday January 20th at 1 pm for a screening and discussion around the film Selma
January 18, 2019 at 10:44am

Ther Northern Kentucky chapter is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend by working with allies to share his story and message, and to be standing alongside others in the community who carry on his work and legacy.

Public Supports Automatic Restoration of Voting Rights

January 18, 2019 at 08:43am

Our allies at the League of Women Voters released the results of a public poll of Kentuckians this week showing overwhelming support for Voting Rights for people with felonies in their past.  Their news release is below.

LANG HOUSE, LOUISVILLE, KY:  According to a poll released today by the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, a majority of Kentuckians, across political affiliation, gender and age categories, support the automatic restoration of voting rights for persons convicted of felonies who have  completed sentencing.

Overall support is 2-1 with 66% in favor and 32% opposed, according to a December 2018 statewide poll of Kentucky voters.  This polling indicates that the highest support for automatic restoration is from those 18-34 years of age with approval at 83% and disapproval at 16%.
Voting Rights Polling ChartKentucky male voters support approval with 63% approving and 36% not approving. Kentucky women voters support automatic restoration by a large majority with 69% approving and 29% not approving.

KFTC's Voting Rights Strategy Team sets stage for victories

January 7, 2019 at 12:12pm

print-9321This weekend, KFTC's Voting Rights Strategy Team met in Frankfort with 27 members from all over the state coming together to lay a ground work for victories that will restore voting rights to Kentuckians who don't have the right to vote. True to our organizing values, many of the people attending have had their right to vote taken away and are fighting to get it back for themselves and the 312,000 other Kentuckians who can't vote now because of our regressive felony disenfranchisement laws.

Kentucky is one of just two states in the U.S. now that take away voting rights from everyone with any kind of felony in their past for the rest of their life unless they can take the extraordinary step of getting their rights restored through a governor's pardon or expungement. Just last November, Florida 65% of voters approved a ballot amendment supporting the restoration of voting rights, inspiring many in Kentucky to believe more than a decade of effort may be closer to success..

It was an important space for the team members to get to know each other and root themselves in the many reasons why this issue is important to them – from a sense of fairness to a commitment to Democracy, a need to fight racism, or a faith that values redemption. Mostly people talked about the need to get justice for people with felonies in their past to vote because they're personally impacted – by having their own rights taken away or because they know and love someone who without the right to vote.

"I want my rights back. I paid my dues to society. I’ve been out of trouble since 2003. Y’all do the math. That’s 16 years. For me to be told that I don’t have my rights to vote, it crushed me. I will not stop until I get my rights back to vote, because I am somebody. What does democracy look like? This in this room is what democracy looks like. I will not stop the fight until we all get our rights back.” — Corey Logan from Fayette County