Advancement Project Applauds Effort to Restore Voting Rights in Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Victoria Wenger, 202-728-9557, vwenger@advancementproject.org                                     

November 24, 2015                                 

Advancement Project Applauds Effort to Restore Voting Rights in Kentucky

WASHINGTON – Today, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order that will restore the right to vote for 170,000 Kentuckians with past convictions for non-violent crimes. Of those impacted, an estimated 140,000 are immediately eligible and another 30,000 will be able to have their rights restored over time. Until today, Kentucky was one of three states that completely barred persons with past felony convictions from ever voting, along with Florida and Iowa. The national civil rights and racial justice group Advancement Project issued the following statement in response:

“We applaud Gov. Steve Beshear’s action to expand the right to vote for so many Kentuckians who have repaid their debts to society,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “People who have served their sentences and reentered into their communities should not be cast out of our elections – that defies the logic of representative democracy. In a nation that prides itself on second chances, we should promote steps to enfranchise those who are living in and contributing to their communities. Restoring the rights of those formerly convicted of non-violent crimes is one of many more steps that should be taken to ensure our elections are truly free, fair, and accessible to all.”

“The governor’s action to restore voting rights in Kentucky brings our nation one step closer to a just democracy,” said Advancement Project Senior Attorney and Director of Voter Protection Katherine Culliton-González. “Our justice system is plagued with racially biased enforcement and sentencing. For too long, denying the right to vote to people who have fulfilled their sentences extended these discriminatory effects to our electoral system. We hope today’s announcement will put pressure on the remaining states that bar those who have served their sentences from ever participating in our democracy.  We know that our democracy is strongest when more people are able to have their voices heard. We applaud all who organized for this change.”

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Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.