Big week for Voting Rights last week | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Big week for Voting Rights last week

Over 36 hours, we had three big voting rights events – a Voting Rights Lobby Day, a Criminal Justice Panel Discussion, and a Press Conference for HB 6.

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Voting Rights Lobby Day

In all, we had 34 documented meetings with legislators, 8 lobby teams, and 28 grassroots lobbyists plus the Kentucky Council of Church's great Prayer Day of Action on Voting Rights and 60 UFCW workers there who talked to legislators about HB 6 as a part of their meetings.

Our members built up their confidence in speaking truth to power and we had frustrating and yet valuable conversations with foes and allied legislators alike.

We got a lot done today and we can build on it. Come join us in Frankfort to continue the work!

Criminal Justice Panel Discussion


The Women's Network, Together Frankfort, KSU and KFTC cosponsored a Reforming Criminal Justice in Kentucky panel discussion that same night.  Topics were wide-ranging focused on reducing recidivism and building a better, more humane criminal justice system.  Debbie Graner, a KFTC leader with a felony in her past spoke about voting as a key way to reduce recidivism and talked about the path forward for voting rights.

Over 60 people attended and KFTC members circulated the petition for restoration of voting rights for people with felonies in their past.


Press Conference for HB 6

Representative Charles Booker held a press conference on HB 6. The Voting Rights coalition was represented and Keturah Herron of the Kentucky ACLU and Debbie Graner of KFTC spoke to show their support.

Below is a transcript of Debbie Graner's statement.

My name is Debbie Graner with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and I live here in Frankfort. 

Last election, 312,000 Kentucky citizens of voting age were not allowed to vote because of Kentucky’s uniquely harsh voter disenfranchisement laws.  That’s about 1 in 11 voting age Kentuckians.  I was one of those people who were not allowed to vote. 

As you know, Governor Beshear passed an Executive order since then restoring the right to vote to 140,000 Kentukians with felonies in their past.  That’s a big step forward and I actually got my right to vote through that order. 

But Beshear’s order is complicated and too narrow.  It took a week and a few conversations with lawyers to figure out if it even applied to me.  And it’s temporary.  We need a broad constitutional amendment to make sure no Kentuckian is punished beyond their sentence and everyone can vote after they’ve served their time.  Representative Booker’s House Bill 6 is the answer. 

I work with the Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition, a collection of 39 Kentucky faith, grassroots, labor, and advocacy organizations who have been working on this issue for 15 years and we support HB 6 and applaud Representative Charles Booker’s leadership on this important issue. 

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