Convicted felons had been permanently barred from voting in Kentucky. Until today.
Gov. Steve Beshear (D) signed an executive order Tuesday that will automatically restore the right to vote and hold public office for the majority of the state’s nonviolent felony offenders.
Under the order, voting rights won’t be restored to those who have been convicted of violent crimes, sex crimes, bribery or treason. But about 170,000 people with nonviolent convictions could get the right to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, which estimates 220,000 Kentuckians out of prison have been convicted of felonies.
“The right to vote is one of the most intrinsically American privileges, and thousands of Kentuckians are living, working and paying taxes in the state but are denied this basic right,” Beshear said in a statement. “Once an individual has served his or her time and paid all restitution, society expects them to reintegrate into their communities and become law-abiding and productive citizens. A key part of that transition is the right to vote.”