Governor Andy Beshear today signed an executive order to restore voting rights to more than 100,000 Kentuckians. The governor’s move, effective immediately, ended the state’s policy of permanently removing voting rights from people with convictions in their past. Beshear had campaigned on restoring voting rights before assuming office.
“Today the governor cleared the way to the ballot box for those with past convictions, giving them a second chance to vote and have a voice in the decisions that affect them and their families. Kentuckians overwhelmingly support what the governor has done,” said Myrna Pérez, director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “Governor Beshear just brought the nation one step closer to eliminating permanent disenfranchisement for people with past convictions. We celebrate Kentucky’s freedom from this ugly holdover from our Jim Crow past.”
Prior to this executive order, Kentucky and Iowa were the only two states left with permanent bans on voting for people with past convictions. To regain their voting rights, tens of thousands of Kentucky residents living and working in their communities had to seek clemency from the governor on an individual basis. Now, voting rights have been and will be automatically restored to people after completing their sentence — a policy supported by two-thirds of Kentuckians.
The Brennan Center has been advocating for more than a decade for rights restoration in Kentucky.
Brennan Center Resources on Rights Restoration and Kentucky