Kentucky House members will consider a constitutional amendment measure this session that would restore voting rights to nonviolent former felons.
It won the approval of the Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Monday.
The democratic led house has passed legislation for the past decade to grant voting rights to former felons but the measure always died in the republican led senate. Long time NAACP member Raoul Cunningham testified in support of the measure. “It’s always been the intent of the supporters to come before the legislature to enact a constitutional amendment that would give felons the right to vote,” said Cunningham.
Just before his term ended, former Governor Steve Beshear restored voting rights to former felons by executive order, but Governor Bevin overturned the decision immediately upon taking office. Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says his position on the matter hasn’t changed. “I’m not for automatic restoration of felon voting rights unless there’s a reasonable waiting period attached whereby the former felon can prove themselves to not commit any more crimes,” Thayer said. “Then they can get their voting rights back.”
Among those testifying in favor of the legislation was Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes.