Voting Rights News

Growing a healthy democracy in Florida and Kentucky

August 21, 2013 at 03:44pm


Florida is like Kentucky in its need for a strong and visionary grassroots organization to influence the political tide.

For Kentucky, that organization is KFTC. For Florida, it’s the Florida New Majority. Gihan Perera, executive director of Florida New Majority, and volunteer Johann Joseph talked about their work to build a healthy democracy at KFTC’s recent annual meeting at General Butler State Park.

“We are really excited to learn from their experience for many reasons,” said KFTC member Linda Stettenbenz in introducing Perera and Joseph. “Florida, as we know, is a complicated place that has its share of challenges when it comes to democracy. Like Kentucky, Florida is among a handful of states that permanently take away a person’s right to vote when convicted of a felony. It’s a state that has a history of schemes to suppress, discourage, purge and otherwise restrict people from voting – especially if they happen to be people of color. And like Kentucky, Florida is also home to a remarkable, determined, visionary and effective grassroots organization that is building power, growing community leaders, and making change for the better.”

Fancy Farm is no picnic for black voices

August 12, 2013
The Kentucky Gazette

“The scary thing is that very few people are asking the question about where the black voices are,” said Dr. Ricky Jones, a Pan-African studies professor at the University of Louisville and director of UofL’s Center for Race and Inequality.

Central Kentucky KFTC members meet with Senator Alice Forgy Kerr on Restoration of Voting Rights

August 9, 2013 at 01:59pm

On August 1, Central Kentucky KFTC members sat down with state Senator Alice Forgy Kerr to talk about the importance of restoring voting rights to former felons. Members were happy to have her full support.

Central Kentucky members Sarah Thomas, Teddi Robillard Smith, Mantell Stevens, and Pastor Anthony Everett shared their passion for the issue and created a space that allowed for a supportive conversation about the importance of democracy and the power of having a second chance.

Democracy Voices - Shelton McElroy, Jefferson County

August 8, 2013 at 12:45pm

Shelton McElroy lives in Louisville with his 8-year-old daughter Jasmin. He teaches at Jefferson Community and Technical College and is involved in various community organization. Shelton shares his story as a former felon.

Democracy Voices - Bonifacio Aleman, Jefferson County

August 8, 2013 at 12:27pm

Bonifacio Aleman or as many call him, Flaco, is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up in a single parent household where he recalls that crime and domestic violence were common. Flaco also recalls that most everyone in his family has been to jail.

Jefferson County Birthday Bash

July 18, 2013 at 04:43pm


Social justice, democracy, and rock n' roll. 

That's how the Kentuckians of Jefferson County kicked-off their 30th anniversary celebration on Saturday, June 22, 2013.

In the heart of Butchertown – down the block from the former Jefferson County chapter office – the Tim Faulkner Gallery hosted the Birthday Bash, which featured music from a variety of local artists including Leigh Ann Yost and The Blacktop Farmers.

Secretary of State meets citizens in Madison County

June 21, 2013 at 09:37am
Madison County

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes held her final town meeting last night in Madison County, and KFTC members were there to talk about expanding voting rights and ways to increase voting.

Change in felons voting rights sought

June 7, 2013
Kentucky Enquirer

Shawnika Gill won’t get a chance to vote in the state of Kentucky unless the governor says she can.

Voting Rights Updates

June 4, 2013 at 03:32pm

Voting Rights Rally.JPGWe’re continuing to advance our campaign to restore voting rights to former felons who have served their debt to society – through field work, citizen lobbying, and other actions.

Here are a few highlights from recent weeks:

-  Victory in Virginia! - In national news, the Republican Governor of Virginia Robert McDonnell took some big steps to restore voting rights to former felons by executive pardon.  The measure excludes Virginians convicted of more serious crimes including some drug related crimes (about 40% total).  It’s also not a blanket measure, so former felons still need to be identified individually to get their rights back, but it’s still a big step forward.  This most recent move leaves Kentucky arguably farther behind than any other US state in having a navigable re-enfranchisement process.   You can learn more here, here, here, and here.

Do you have a Constitutional right to vote?

May 30, 2013 at 04:43pm

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather QuillDoes the US Constitution say that you have a right to vote?

The answer may suprise you.

While several constitutional amendments prohibit discrimination based on race, sex and age, the language aways cuts carefully around just coming out and saying that you have the right to vote.  

The 15th amendment to the constitution says the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."  We usually sum that up by saying that the 15th amendment gave the right to vote to African Americans, but that's not exactly the same thing. 

And we often describe the 26th amendment as granting the right to vote to 18-20 year-olds, but what is actually says is "The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age."

To put it another way, there is no explicit affirmative right to vote in the US Constitution.