Voting Rights News

Jefferson County co-hosts Citizen Lobbying 101

December 17, 2013 at 03:18pm

How does a bill become a law in Kentucky? What’s the best way for people to arrange a meeting with their legislators? How can ordinary citizens hold lawmakers accountable?

These questions, and more, were brought to the forefront during Jefferson County's citizen lobbying training on Wednesday, December 11, which took place at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville.

Images that are often associated with the word “lobbyist” are those of corporate lackeys treating policymakers to expensive drinks over a round of golf. It’s a misconception that was quickly broken as community organizers from throughout the state shared their lobbying experiences on both local and state levels.

Singing for Democracy from Lexington to Lynch

November 15, 2013 at 05:53pm

CKY Singing for Democracy We didn’t go to the polls this year, but KFTC members are building a better Democracy and New Power everyday. To keep Democracy alive in November, hundreds of KFTC members gathered in kitchens, living rooms, churches, and community centers to celebrate, vision, and build toward the Kentucky we all deserve. Among the nearly 50 events that occurred on Tuesday November 5th, were at least a couple that really made some noise in celebration and song.

‘Singing for Democracy’ events have become a tradition of the campaign to restore voting rights to former felons in our Commonwealth. So on (no) election day, communities in Lexington and Lynch gathered to sing out in praise and celebration for Voting Rights and Democracy! 

Presentation of Appreciation to City CouncilsIn the coal camp town of Lynch in Harlan County, over 30 people gathered in the Eastern Kentucky Social Club for food, fellowship, and three musical performances by their neighbors and friends. Between music, KFTC members shared stories of local work to build up their home communities through energy efficiency and generation, as well as plans for the road ahead to restore voting rights to nearly 250,000 former felons in 2014. City Council members, mayors, clerks and neighbors spent the evening together, celebrating and building toward a healthier Democracy at home and across Kentucky. The evening’s performers included Stanley Sturgill, Erica Eldridge, and the Mt. Sinai Spirituals, all of Lynch. Rutland Melton, of Lynch, presented Benham and Lynch City Councils with certificates of appreciation for their work with the Harlan Co. chapter to get energy upgrades on homes and city buildings in both towns. 

Senator Carpenter visits Madison County chapter

November 3, 2013 at 10:47am

Last Monday, October 28, the Madison County chapter invited state senator Jared Carpenter to Berea for a lobby meeting, where the senator and KFTC members discussed the upcoming legislative session, including the possibility of Carpenter’s support for KFTC legislative priorities. The meeting began with a brief talk by Carpenter about his own legislative priorities, which included encouraging the growth of industry and infrastructure in Madison County and stopping the heroin trade in Kentucky, which he believed could be done with “tougher punishments for the folks producing and selling heroin.”

Task force hears testimony on voting rights bills

October 22, 2013 at 03:13pm

For the first time, some members of the Kentucky Senate got to hear testimony on the issue of restoring voting rights to former felons.

Myrna Perez

The Interim Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs, with members from both the House and Senate, heard testimony on bills that would allow Kentucky voters to amend the state constitution to automatically restore voting rights to former felons once they’ve served their debt to society.

Southern Kentucky Update

October 1, 2013 at 08:00pm
Southern Kentucky

On September 24, Southern Kentucky KFTC members came together for their regular monthly chapter meeting with many big updates and even bigger plans for the next few months.

Steering Committee representatives updated members on the recent steering committee retreat held in Whitesburg, which provided both an orientation to newly elected representatives and an exciting start to our Fall Fundraising campaign. Several local members have agreed to participate in our Power Builders program, joining members all across Kentucky to celebrate KFTC’s focus on growing a healthy democracy as we raise funds, awareness, and members. To see how to join in this HUGE event, visit our KFTC POWER BUILDER page.

Momentum Building for Voting Rights in Kentucky

September 18, 2013 at 12:12pm

Council Member Ford and KFTC members

Momentum is building in the campaign to restore voting rights to former felons who have served their sentence in Kentucky. And comments made this week by US Senator Rand Paul are the latest indication that proposed changes to the Kentucky Constitution could finally win approval in 2014.

For nearly 8 years, KFTC and our allies have organized, lobbied, door-knocked, rallied and prayed together in support of a constitutional amendment known as HB 70. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Crenshaw, seeks to reform Kentucky’s outdated constitution, which has barred people with felony convictions from voting since 1792. Once adopted, the measure would restore civil rights to most non-violent offenders upon completion of their full sentence.

Shelby members encourage Sen. Hornback to support voting rights

September 16, 2013 at 11:17am

State Senator Paul Hornback favors restoring voting rights to former felons who have served their time, but wants to make them wait two to five years after completing their sentences before being able to vote.

Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

September 5, 2013 at 12:18pm

KFTC sent a delegation of 11 people to participate in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. They traveled with a group of about 100 Kentuckians on buses organized by the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. These reflections and photos are from one member who made the trip.

Fifty years have passed since the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when Martin Luther King Jr. famously bellowed, “I have a dream” here on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where I now stand.

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

There are deeply eroded grooves on each marble step, worn and weary from the footsteps of previous generations who likewise marched for equality. From the 1913 Women Suffrage Parade to the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957, these steps have become sacred ground for the forgotten, neglected, and disenfranchised citizens of our nation.

Now here we stand, honoring the legacy of Dr. King, Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and others who sacrificed their lives so that my generation could freely go to the polls on Election Day and attend integrated schools.