Voting Rights News

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.

Sec of State Election Meeting Schedule Finalized

May 30, 2013 at 01:28pm

100_1465Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes has been conducting a series of town meetings to gather input on election laws and practices. 

The exact times and locations of the final three events are now set:

June 3rd at 12:30 p.m. CST – McCracken County:  Robert Cherry Civic Center, 2701 Park Avenue, Paducah, KY
June 6th at 12:30 p.m. EST – Jefferson County: Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th Street, Louisville, KY
June 20th at 5:30 p.m. EST – Madison County:  Madison County Extension Office, 230 Duncannon Lane, Richmond, KY

The format of the input meetings is fairly straightforward.  It's a 60 minute discussion facilitated by the Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. There is some context at the beginning and some recognition of county clerks' office representatives. 

But mostly, the event is focused on a series of questions like "What are your thoughts about our current voter registration process?" "18 states offer online voter registration. Should we try to move in that direction?" "What is your election day experience like?" and "32 states allow early voting. Should we allow no-excuse early voting in Kentucky too?"