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.