Free and open elections are a hallmark of America’s democracy. Every citizen gets a single vote. Although, once convicted of even a minor felony, Kentuckians lose their voting rights for the rest of their lives. Even after people serve out their debt, they are still denied a vote in their local, state, or federal government.
That’s why House Bill 70, which could restore voting rights to felons who have served their time, is so important. The bill passed the state House by an overwhelming majority. Now it moves on to the Senate, where it has previously died in the Committee on State and Local Government.
Senate Majority Whip Brandon Smith, of our district, has told his constituents he supports voting rights at meetings and rallying events in Hazard. Those actions were a powerful display of support to a group of Kentuckians being denied basic rights. As majority whip, Smith now has a better position to lead other senators to make this bill become a reality. I urge him to have those discussions.
The only thing worse than not voting is being denied the right to vote and forced to live without a say in your community. Our senators have a tangible opportunity to restore voting rights to thousands of Kentuckians who’ve been silenced. Let’s urge them to make the right decision and restore voting rights. Many of us are in Frankfort today doing just that by talking with our senators. Call 800-372-7181 to leave your message for Senator Smith.