Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s new governor, has only been in office a couple of weeks, but he’s already managed to re-disenfranchise tens of thousands of his state’s residents with the stroke of a pen. He did it by reversing an executive order issued late last month by his predecessor, Steven Beshear, that made as many as 140,000 Kentuckians with a nonviolent felony conviction immediately eligible to register to vote. Kentucky is one of three states, including Florida and Iowa, to impose a lifetime voting ban on people convicted of felonies. (Individuals may still petition for a restoration of their rights, which the governor decides on a case-by-case basis — an arduous, “quasi-monarchical” process.) Mr. Bevin, a Tea Party Republican, said he supports restoring voting rights to those with criminal records, but that it is an issue that should be “addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people,” not the governor’s office.
Kentucky: New governor reverses executive order that restored voting rights for felons | The Washington Post
Kentucky’s new Republican governor has rescinded an executive order that restored voting rights to as many as 140,000 non-violent felons, surprising some observers who had watched him — and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — argue for a more lenient approach to the issue. “While I have been a vocal supporter of the restoration of rights,” Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Ky.) said in announcing the order, “it is an issue that must be addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people.” The November election, which Bevin won in an upset, did not really turn on felon voting rights. In Bevin’s view, outgoing Democratic governor Steve Beshear forced the issue, granting a mass restoration after eight years of following the usual, slow, individualized standard for voting rights.
Governor Matt Bevin issued an executive order Tuesday suspending former governor Steve Beshear’s restoration of voting rights to non-violent felony offenders. “Today, I took action to uphold several commitments I made during my campaign so that we can implement real solutions that will help the people of Kentucky,” said Governor Bevin.