This post is brought you courtesy of our wonderful intern Elijah Hack. Elijah Hack is a senior at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY and does great work for us.
In less than a week, Americans will take to the polls to decide the future of our nation. The right to vote is something viewed as essential to our democracy; being American means having the opportunity to participate in the democratic process.
Over 6 million Americans, however, will be unable to exercise that fundamental right next Tuesday.
48 of our 50 states disenfranchise people convicted of a felony in one way or another, with 12 states removing felon voting rights entirely, even after their sentence, parole, and probation are complete. Unfortunately, Kentucky has some of the harshest laws in the nation, in regards to voter disenfranchisement.
In Kentucky we disenfranchise one out of every 17 eligible voters, a rate more than twice the national average. We bar an estimated 186,000 Kentuckians from exercising their most fundamental right as an American. To put that in perspective, that’s almost one-fifth of the voter turnout in Kentucky for the 2015 Gubernatorial election. In regards to African American voters, Kentucky has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the nation. Nearly 1 in 4 African American Kentuckians have had their voting rights removed because of felony convictions.
Most whom are disenfranchised are not violent criminals or individuals who have interfered with the voting process. In fact, over two-thirds of people ineligible to vote have completed their entire sentence. These Kentuckians have made mistakes and served their time, but we remove them entirely from the democratic process at the city, county, state, and federal level.
According to a recent PRRI poll, almost 75% of Americans surveyed have said that they are in favor of restoring rights for people convicted of a felony offense after they have served their time. Across all demographics, Americans are in favor of restoring voting rights to people convicted of a felony offense.
Until July of this year, the only way for people convicted of a felony to regain voting rights was to receive a pardon from the Governor. On April 12, HB-40 was signed into law, allowing people with some Class D felony and misdemeanor offense the opportunity to receive an expungement 5 years after they have completed their sentence.
If you are unable to exercise your most essential right because of a mistake you made in the past, call us today at 888-400-5730 or check out our free expungement app at Uncovicted.com.