kentucky governor steve beshear issued an executive action today. his progressive order will automatically restore voting rights to about 100,000 people with nonviolent felony convictions who completed their sentences.
kentucky, florida, iowa and virginia are the only states which disenfranchise people with felony convictions after completing their sentences. voting rights in these states can only be restored through a governor's action or pardons board. about 243,000 felons in kentucky lost their voting rights, including 180,000 who completed their sentence.
almost six million americans can't vote because of the legal disenfranchisement with their felony convictions. policies vary from state to state. the most extreme states restrict voting rights even after people serve their sentences, and are no longer on parole or probation: individuals in these states make up about 45% of the entire disenfranchised population.
felony disenfranchisement has produced broad racial disparities in its impact. nationwide, one in every 13 black adults have been stripped of their right to vote. in florida and virginia, over 20% of black adults experience disenfranchisement.
marc mauer, executive director of the sentencing project said, "in issuing this executive action, governor beshear has demonstrated bold and necessary leadership. denying the right to vote to an entire class of citizens is deeply problematic for a democratic society and counterproductive to effective reentry."
nicole d. porter, director of advocacy at the sentencing project said, "we are encouraged by state officials who are reconsidering archaic disenfranchisement policies, with 23 states having enacted reforms since 1997. yet, there is much more work to do, both in kentucky and other states, to allow the full democratic participation of all citizens."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.