Voting Rights News | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Voting Rights News

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.

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.

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

Kentuckians act to support miners with black lung disease

November 29, 2018 at 09:24pm

Kentuckians took action today in Washington, DC and London, Kentucky to urge Senator Mitch McConnell and other members of Congress to do right by coal miners with black lung disease, their families and communities.

Voting Rights Victory in Florida Energizes Kentuckians

November 27, 2018 at 04:25pm

Attica Scott RallyAmong a lot of other state and national election results earlier this month, voters in Florida passed an amendment to automatically restore voting rights to 1.4 million citizens with felonies in their past.  An incredible 64 percent of Florida voters voted in for the change.

The amendment restores the right to vote for people with felonies in their past, except people convicted of a handful of the most serious crimes, once they have served their time (including probation and parole).

Florida was previously one of just 4 states in the US (along with Kentucky, Iowa, and Virginia) whose constitutions permanently take voting rights away from all people with felonies in their past unless they’re able to take extraordinary measures to have their voting rights restored individual through a governor’s pardon. 

With the victory in Florida and the Governor of Virginia’s pledge to use his pardoning power to restore all voting rights to people as they complete their sentences, only Kentucky and Iowa are left with the most extreme felony disenfranchisement practices in the US and in the world. 

This big win has energized Kentuckians around restoration of voting rights and several organizations including KFTC are prioritizing our long-running campaign to restore voting rights to people with felonies in their past after they have served their debt to society. 

When states make it easier to vote, more people vote. Kentucky makes voting extra hard.

October 31, 2018
Lexington Herald Leader

Amidst a surge of turnout during early voting this year in several other states, Kentucky is left out: Most Kentucky voters have to wait until Election Day and they will have only 12 hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to vote.

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