Voting Rights News | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Voting Rights News

Jason Smith – Turned away at the polls, but determined enough to make sure his voice counted

November 19, 2012 at 05:59pm

We heard a few stories throughout Election Day of former felons who had gone through the process to have their vote restored by gubernatorial pardon – and received it – but were still illegally tuned away at the polls.  This is one story from former felon Jason Smith (who we interviewed last year) who encountered a lot of difficulty in casting his first vote in a presidential election earlier this month.  

"I was excited. I got my right to vote back after working hard to get it back in 2011 and voted for the first time in the General Election last year.

"This was my first presidential election, though, and I was taking it really seriously – learning about all of the issues and candidates and really doing the research to cast a well-informed vote.

"And the line was so much longer than I thought it would be. I waited for almost an hour to vote, but it didn’t matter. It was worth it.

"When I got up to the front, there was a sweet older lady who asked for my name and flipped through the booklet, but just couldn’t find me anywhere. She called the Hardin County Clerk’s office and handed me the phone.

"I couldn’t believe what the person on the other end of the phone was telling me.

Voting Rights in the News

November 9, 2012 at 12:51pm

This segment aired on News Channel 12 in Bowling Green this week. 

Perry County Chapter hosts 'Singing for Democracy'

November 5, 2012 at 07:41pm

KFTC members, advocates for democracy and church members came together on Sunday, November 4th for the first Singing for Democracy in eastern Kentucky. 65 people came to the Consolidated Baptist Church in Hazard to hear singing, testimony and share fellowship over a chili supper cooked by church members and Perry County chapter member Jenny Williams.

gDSC_0543Consolidated Baptist Church pastor Rev. Lowell Parker of Wheelwright, Floyd County, served as emcee for the night, introducing the speakers, distinguished guests and even singing with the church choir. The program started with a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by Lexington singer Special K. The Consolidated Baptist Choir and visiting Rev. Jake Ravizee fueled the event with songs of praise and worship.  Evangelist Jake Ravizee has been an Ordained Minister-Evangelist and Vocalist for over 35 years. He lives in Lynch, Kentucky with his wife and three children. His years of service through prison ministries made him especially excited to be a part of this important event.

There was an impressive turnout both from local community members and from local elected officials. State Senator Brandon Smith, Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo and Commonwealth Attorney Teresa  Reed all attended the event. Judge Stumbo, who is seeking election to the state Supreme Court, spoke briefly about the meaning of democracy after Rev. Parker invited her up to the podium. Her vision of democracy included memories she had of being a child in Floyd County, watching her father tally votes off the radio during election nights, and watching the impressive campaign led by KFTC in the 1980s to stop the broad form deed.

Power of Voice - Tayna Fogle

November 4, 2012 at 12:25am

Our friends at the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Equal Voice just put together a powerful video following one of our leaders, Tayna Fogle, of Lexington.

Power of Voice from Equal Voice on Vimeo.

Tayna Fogle is a grandmother, basketball player extraordinaire, and former addict who spent nearly part a decade in prison. In order to stand up for the issues that were important to her family, she had to bravely defend against harsh drug sentencing policies and learn to navigate bureaucratic mazes to regain her right to vote. Today she works with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth as an organizer and voting rights activist to help others do the same. Her story is appropriately called “Power of Voice.”

Eastern KY Voter Mobilization Update

November 2, 2012 at 05:56pm
Perry County

training KFTC members from Perry and Letcher counties came together last night to hold an East Kentucky phone-banking event in preparation for election day, next Tuesday November 6.

With support from members of these two chapters, we held the largest phonebank that East Kentucky has had in at least the last three years, with 8 members, staff and volunteers calling over 300 members – every person in our database for the east Kentucky counties and the 100 people we helped register as new voters during the fall voter registration period.

Upcoming Singing for Democracy in eastern Kentucky

October 24, 2012 at 05:08pm

Postcard flier

gDSC_0366The Perry County KFTC Chapter and the Consolidated Baptist Church of Hazard are excited to be hosting the first gospel event Singing for Democracy in eastern Kentucky.

This celebratory event  – to supportthe restoration of voting rights to former felons who have served their time – will feature gospel performances by the Consolidated Baptist Choir, Rev. Jake Ravazi of Lynch, and others. Everyone is welcome to come join in the singing of hymns of redemption and hear testimony about the restriction of voting rights in Kentucky from prison ministries as well as from those who have been disenfranchis

10th Singing For Democracy a big success

October 24, 2012 at 02:57pm

Last night at Total Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington, KFTC members and friends held our tenth Singing For Democracy Gospel Fest.

About 150 people gathered for the event, which included a step show by Thunderous Praise, performances by Total Grace's choir and Renew, plus solo acts and former felons telling their personal stories. 

Tayna Fogle opened up the events amidst a stage filled with ladders, hammers, saw horses, and power tools and talked about building a Democracy - and the enfranchisement of former felons as an important step in that process.

TWO Singing For Democracy Gospel Festivals soon

October 15, 2012 at 05:45pm

We've held nine Singing For Democracy Gospel Fests over the last few years to restore voting rights to former felons who have served their time.


Operation voter madness a success in Lexington!

October 8, 2012 at 05:00pm
Central Kentucky


You may have seen in the Herald Leader last week that groups all over town were focusing on registering as many voters as possible before the deadline this coming Tuesday October 9th. The central Kentucky chapter held a 36 hour voter registration marathon in Lexington over the weekend. Starting on Friday October 5th at 6am and going until 6pm on Saturday October 6th, volunteers registered people to vote at the transit center, on UK campus, the Catholic Action center, the William Wells Brown community center, local bars, Tolly Ho, Spaulding Donuts, Race for the Cure, The farmers market, N. Limeston coffee and donuts, the Village Branch library and door to door around the Lexington rescue mission in the Georgetown St. area.

Join KFTC at the Vice Presidential Debate in Danville: Thursday, October 11

October 5, 2012 at 02:42pm
Wilderness Trace

The new Wildnerness Trace chapter of KFTC invites you to join them at the Vice Presidential Debate Festival in Danville on Thursday, October 11, 2012.

KFTC members will be speaking on the issues we work on that are important to the national debate--either because they're being addressed or have been ignored and need to be heard.

If you come to join us for the day, please wear your KFTC t-shirt if you have one, or any bright green shirt. We want to stand out in the crowd!

4:30 pm -- KFTC Speakers at the Speakers' Park Introduction to KFTC and local organizing -- Wilderness Trace Chapter members Economic Justice: Tax and Budget Issues -- Dana Beasley Brown Voting Rights -- Tayna Fogle Coal & Energy -- Carl Shoupe