This blog spends a lot of time focusing on the benefits of expungement. It’s true that expungement is an amazing opportunity in comparison to the previous system of being removed from the “mainstream” economy. However, many people are not eligible for expungement but would like to restore their voting rights. And many of those people that are eligible for expungement are interested in how a Class D Felony Expungement in Kentucky will affect their voting rights and whether they will have to go through a separate process to restore their right to vote.
I’m going to spend the next few weeks writing a multipart series on these issues, as well as the history of disenfranchisement in Kentucky and the South. I’m also going to explore some of the legal issues behind why Governor Bevin rescinded Governor Beshear’s executive order restoring voting rights to all non-violent, non-sex offenders. In all honesty, this is an issue I’m still exploring. As a lawyer, it’s easy to be caught up in the technical–does the Executive Branch have the power to pardon thousands of people as a class?, but it’s more important to focus on the big picture. Banning people from voting because of a mistake they made years ago is fundamentally incompatible with democracy.
Frank X Walker had a great poem in the Courier-Journal today highlighting the indignities of our legislatures failure to pass comprehensive reform in this area. Only two other states make it as hard as Kentucky does to get your voting rights back. Now is the time to have the conversation. Here are the pieces I’ll be writing and releasing over the coming weeks:
- Part Two: Will a Felony Expungement Restore My Voting Rights?
- Part Three: How Do I Apply to Have My Voting Rights Restored?
- Part Four: House Bill 70–What Happened?
- Part Five: Separation of Powers: Bevin v. Beshear
- Part Six: Felon Voting Rights Going Forward