Kentucky: Federal lawsuit fights Kentucky’s felon voter ban | Louisville Courier Journal

Kentucky has some of the nation’s highest rates of residents who can’t vote because of felony convictions — but a recent federal lawsuit is seeking to change that. The same national civil rights group that got a judge to declare Florida’s practices for restoring voting rights unconstitutional is targeting Kentucky’s restoration procedures. The suit, initially filed last year in U.S. District Court in Louisville by a single felon, was joined last week by the Fair Elections Center and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center. It was amended to add three more plaintiffs who argue Kentucky’s procedures for restoring voting rights are arbitrary and unconstitutional.

“If people take responsibility for their mistakes and complete their sentences, they shouldn’t have to beg the government to regain their right to vote as American citizens,” said Stephon Harbin, a Louisville resident and plaintiff.

In Kentucky, nearly one in 10 residents, and one in four African-Americans, are barred from voting because of felony convictions.

The suit echoes the Fair Election Center’s arguments in a similar Florida lawsuit, which led a federal judge to declare the state’s practices unconstitutional and ordered its criteria for restoring rights to be made clearer.

Full Article: Federal lawsuit fights Kentucky’s felon voter ban.

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