Felons won’t let up on state lawmakers in Kentucky until they get the right to vote. After getting a powerful ally in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul this year, the supporters of the automatic restoration of voting rights for most felons hope the next session of the Kentucky General Assembly in January will give felons the same rights they have in most other states. Already, three bills, two by Democrats and one by a Republican, have been filed that would automatically restore upon completion of the sentence and probation the voting rights for felons not convicted of sex offenses, homicide, treason and bribery. All three are Constitutional amendments that require the support of 60 percent of legislators and ratification by voters.
Supporters of the voting rights bill believe it will help transition reformed criminals back into society. Backers believe the progress made last session bodes well for the next year. Social justice group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth estimate there are 180,000 felons out of prison in the state.
Kentucky is one of only four states that requires a pardon from the governor for a felon to vote again. In 38 states, most felons automatically get their rights restored upon completion of their sentences, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In the meantime, supporters of felon suffrage say they’re meeting with the governor in a month asking for a blanket pardon for all of the state’s nonviolent felons. Michael Hiser, a Bullitt County resident released from prison seven years ago after serving time for drug and theft charges, has devoted his time to this cause. When asked, Beshear’s office didn’t confirm whether he’s considering a blanket pardon.
Full Article: Felons getting closer to voting in Ky..