Government
4:49 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Frankfort Rally Commemorating 1964 Civil Rights March Focuses on Felon Voting Rights

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The fight for civil rights in Kentucky continues 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. led a march in the state Capitol.

The 1964 march on Frankfort agitated for Civil Rights in segregation-era Kentucky, resulting in the passage of the 1966 Kentucky Civil Rights Act.

A commemorative rally today Wednesday centered on restoring the voting rights for felons. 

In Kentucky, about one in five African-American males cannot vote because a felony charge, and legislation has been proposed in the General Assembly to restore voting rights to felons.

Representative Jesse Crenshaw has filed a bill that would automatically restore suffrage for felons.

Crenshaw told the crowd to call every member of the Senate to garner support for his original bill, which was watered down by that Republican-led body.

“The theme today is lift every voice and vote," said Crenshaw. "I ask you ladies and gentlemen to lift every voice and contact every member of the Senate and ask them to help restore House Bill 70 to House Bill 70.”

Former state Sen. Georgia Powers spoke in support of a bill restoring suffrage for many felons.

“I suggest to you today felons, all those who are felons, I suggest to you that you organize, organize, organize your family members who vote to kick the rascals out who are the enemies of equality," Powers says.

The bill has passed the Republican-led Senate, but not after a GOP-led weakening of the legislation, which makes it effective for fewer felons than the original bill.