Under debate, after passing in the Kentucky Senate with a vote of 34-4, is House Bill 70, an amendment to Section 145 of the Constitution of Kentucky, which asks that persons convicted of a felony, other than treason, intentional killing, a sex crime or bribery, the right to vote after expiration of probation, final discharge from parole, or maximum expiration of sentence. The bill is also asking that this amendment be submitted to the voters for ratification or rejection. The amendments to HB 70 impose a five-year waiting period after sentencing has been completed and disqualify anyone with more than one felony conviction from automatic restoration of voting rights. According to a recent analysis, conducted by the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, of the 180,000 former felons who have completed their sentences and who would have voting rights restored under original provisions of HB70, 100,000 would be adversely affected by these amendments.
Currently in Kentucky, only the governor can reinstate Civil Rights. The ex-offender must complete an application for restoration of civil rights. Then, it is at the governor’s discretion to restore voting rights.
Section 145 of the Kentucky Constitution prevents convicted felons from voting. The section applies to those convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction, not only to those convicted in Kentucky courts. The governor may pardon any such felon and restore the felon’s voting rights.
“All offenders released from custody are eligible to have their civil rights restored,” said Kentucky Department of Corrections Public Information Officer Todd Henson. “Upon their release, they are provided information concerning the application process to have their civil rights restored. They submit their application to the Department of Corrections (DOC).
Full Article: Voting rights’ bill will affect convicted felons.