NewsCovering Kentucky


Lawmakers To Debate Restoring Voting Rights To Felons

Posted at 6:16 AM, Feb 25, 2019

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A big discussion on voting rights is slated for Monday in Frankfort.

Lawmakers will hear arguments about a push to restore voting rights to convicted felons.

Kentucky remains one of only two states to permanently bar convicted felons from voting. The other is Iowa.

The Kentucky League of Voters estimates that this disenfranchises 312,000 people in the commonwealth.

A Lexington representative is working with several other lawmakers hoping to change that.

Rep. George Brown introduced House Bill 91, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would restructure voting rights relating to felons.

The proposal is expected to be discussed Monday afternoon in the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee at the Capitol.

A similar bill is in the senate. Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey and Sen. Denise Harper Angel — both from Louisville — introduced Senate Bill 238 last month.

That bill specifies that felons who have completed their sentences would be allowed to vote — unless they were convicted of murder, sex crimes, treason or bribery in an election.

Both proposals would be constitutional amendments. So, if they pass the General Assembly they would have to be put on a ballot for Kentucky voters to weigh in on.

Amendments can only appear in even numbered years, so if approved such a question wouldn’t be up for a vote until 2020.