Bill to automatically restore felon voting rights filed in KY Senate

New bill to restore felon voting rights filed in KY Senate

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Voters may soon be deciding whether to automatically restore the voting rights of around 300,000 Kentuckians.

A bill proposing a Kentucky constitutional amendment to give felons the right to vote has been introduced by Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville).

The bill would prevent some felons from voting.

Those who have committed major sex crimes, murder, treason or election fraud would not get their right to vote back. People convicted of other felonies, who have served their sentence, including probation and parole, would.

Eligible felons would not have to petition for their rights or wait any period of time for them to be restored.

Members of the ACLU and Americans for Prosperity supported the bill at a press conference Friday.

One representative said around 300,000 Kentuckians with felony records are disenfranchised, citing League of Women Voters of Kentucky statistics.

McGarvey said he believes he currently has the support to pass the bill, but isn’t sure if Republican leadership will bring it up for a vote.

“Keeping our communities safe, something we all want, requires being involved in our community,” McGarvey said. “The person in prison today will be your neighbor tomorrow and we want people to have a voice in our community.”

McGarvey said Kentucky is just one of two states that permanently does not let felons vote.

Proponents of the legislation said the short session may make it more difficult to pass, but if the bill is approved this year, it would be on the ballot in November 2020.

As a constitutional amendment, the law would have to be voted in by the people of Kentucky.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.