More editorials in favor of Voting Rights | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

More editorials in favor of Voting Rights

In addition to editorials by the Herald-Leader, Courier-Journal, WDRB, and others, there has been a new set published in the Georgetown News-Graphic (home of Senator Damon Thayer), and the Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville).


Public should decide felon voting rights

A bill filed in the General Assembly would allow Kentuckians to vote on a constitutional amendment to restore the voting rights of most non-violent offenders after they have finished serving the punishment for a crime. Lawmakers should pass it.

Few people want to appear soft on crime, and that’s an important consideration... That’s why we believe voters should decide if it is appropriate to withhold one of the most basic rights in a Democracy to citizens who have paid for their crimes, either by completing a sentence, serving a probationary period, or both.

We believe, that in most cases, a person’s penalty should not extend beyond that ordered by a jury or a judge. But that is what happens when the right to vote is withheld for years after a person leaves jail and completes a probationary period. This is an issue of fairness, so we have to ask if there is a good reason to deny the right to vote to a Kentuckian who has met the obligation of his or her criminal penalty?

This measure has passed the past three years in the Kentucky House but has not reached a vote in the Senate. It seems anyone who supports a free and fair election, regardless of party affiliation, would agree that Kentucky voters should be allowed to decide if they want to amend the constitution on this issue.

Many organizations support the restoration of voting rights, including the Kentucky League of Women Voters, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky and the Kentucky Mental Health Coalition. Kentucky is one of four states that still withholds the right to vote to ex-felons.

Currently, the only way an ex-felon can have his or her voting rights restored is through approval of the governor.

At the very least, it is clearly reasonable to allow Kentuckians to decide this issue at the ballot. It is time to pass House Bill 70.

Kentucky New Era, Hopkinsville

It's also now two weeks until the March 8th Voting Rights Lobby Day and Rally in Frankfort.  Please plan on attending and spread the word. 

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