New Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Gives Nonviolent Felons the Right to Vote, Run for Public Office

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New Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear isn’t wasting time enacting liberal agendas, having signed an executive order Thursday restoring the right to vote and the right to run for public office to hundreds of thousands of felons convicted of nonviolent crimes, according to a story by Jurist.

This order was one of the first signed by the governor, who was just sworn into office on Tuesday after defeating incumbent Matt Bevin, Jurist said. Beshear’s order brought to mind the goals of an order signed by his father, Steve Beshear, the governor of Kentucky in 2015. The original order was undone by Bevin in the interim.

Beshear’s actions affect 140,000 convicted felons, making good on a promise he had made, according to a story by Fox News.

The order applies to Kentuckians who have committed non-violent offenses and have completed their sentences and does not include sex offenders, rapists or murderers, Beshear, a Democrat, said to a group of voting rights supporters.

Beshear called it an “injustice” that former felons are unable to “fully rejoin society by casting a vote on election day [and were] automatically denied regardless of the circumstances of their offense or their good work since serving their sentences.”

Black disenfranchisement is 26 percent in Kentucky, according to The Sentencing Project.

Beshear said he signed the order to reduce Kentucky’s disenfranchisement rate, one of the highest in the nation, WBUR said.

Kentucky was one of just two states with a blanket, lifetime voting ban on felons. The other is Iowa.

Beshear said that Kentucky’s executive order does not require felons to pay fees or fines in order to exercise their right.

Beshear also said that permanent, automatic restoration of voting rights would require a constitutional amendment. He said he will try to do that legislatively, but acknowledged it could take years with Republicans controlling the legislature.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Andy Beshear” by Andy Beshear. 

 

 

 

 

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