Voter Empowerment Primary Wrap-up | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Voter Empowerment Primary Wrap-up

 KFTC members from all across the state participated in our non-partisan Voter Empowerment campaign leading up to the May 20th primary election to register, educate, and mobilize thousands of voters and strengthen our democracy.


Thirty-two percent of registered Kentucky voters showed up to vote in the election, smashing the previous record of 26.5 percent turnout in 1992.  These numbers included 43 percent of Kentucky's registered Democrats (many excited about the long presidential primary they had a rare opportunity to influence) and 18.9 of registered Kentucky Republicans. 

We’ve collectively built a database of thousands of voters we’ve registered, and other voters we’ve had contact with over the last few years and play a key role in our democracy by getting them non-partisan information about where candidates stand on issues.  Our "Voter Guidesâ€ have responses straight from the candidates, and we got thousands of them into people’s hands to help them make decisions. 


Apart from our powerful statewide voter guide, many KFTC chapters organized voter guides for local races and got them out in their communities, including races for city governments and Kentucky legislative races.

We put all of the information from the voter guides online at, as well, and encouraged people by phone, email, and online networking sites like Facebook to visit.

The voter guides were useful, because it’s the candidates in their own words, unfiltered, talking about issues that I really care about – not just the talking points from some campaign commercial.  This kind of basic information is necessary for our democracy and I’m glad we help get it out.â€ - Central KY member Danny Cotton

Having registered and educated thousands, KFTC members then made sure that they got out and voted, reminding people by phone, community events, door-knocking, email, and also much more creative means.  More than 4,500 people also pledged to vote through KFTC’s Facebook page.

Across the State

- In Madison County, chapter leaders called hundreds of other members to remind them to vote over several solid days of phone banks.


- In Lexington, KFTC members called our lists for a week leading up to the election, gave rides to the polls, passed out information, and ran several sound cars around town on election day to remind people to vote.  "It was really great and really fun.  People definitely noticed us and reacted,â€ said Jenn Myatt, one of a dozen members who used the sound car throughout the day.

Former felons (who lose their right to vote in Kentucky) spearheaded voter mobilization calls in Lexington on several days, participating in the democratic process through the votes of others.  KFTC's close allies at the Lexington chapter of People Advocating Recovery were especially active.

We’re an asset to this democracy, not a liability.  If my feet were on the ground in my home state of Texas, I’d be allowed to vote in the election, but my feet are on the ground in Kentucky, so I can’t.  We need to change things so that former felons can participate all the way in the democratic process by voting – but until then, we’ll participate in other ways like this.â€ - Howard Jones, a former felon, KFTC and PAR member.

 - Knott County chapter members did a phone bank to publicize the KFTC candidate forum, amongst other activities.

- In Perry and Harlan County chapters did voter registration efforts at in many places and a distributed a local voter guide for the 84th district. A dozen volunteers from both chapters helped put together the mailing.  They also publicized a local candidate forum and distributed KFTC local voter guides there.


- In Bowling Green, members made calls over the course of a week (even one on vacation and from out of the state), knocked doors, ran a sound car around town to remind people to vote, and also a parade of bikes with "Voteâ€ signs to creatively get people's attention.  

"KFTC wants people to raise their voices, and it worked! People really raised their voices!â€ reflected an excited Greg Capillo, in response to local voter turnout numbers in neighborhoods the chapter worked in.  

At one point, KFTC member Dana Beasley Brown was leading a pack of a dozen bikers through one of the busiest intersections in town.  At two opposite corners were the Obama campaign folks and the Clinton campaign folks, each trying to out-shout the other. As the KFTC crew blew through, bullhorning "Just VOTE!" someone from the Clinton camp yelled out, "Yeah, that should be what we're saying.  It doesn't matter who you vote for, just vote!"

- Pike County members conducted voter mobilization phone banks and registered lots of voters  at the Hillbilly Days festival.

- In Northern Kentucky, KFTC members lead by former felons who couldn’t vote called hundreds of people who had signed KFTC petitions.


Looking ahead

KFTC’s Voter Empowerment Campaign in the primary election was sizable, but nothing compared to what members have planned leading up to the General Election on November 4th.  We’ll contact 15,000 voters three times each and will develop a system of "Community Captainsâ€ to mobilize friends and neighbors with a deeper connection.

Watch the calendar and volunteer.    

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