Voting Rights / Democracy focus on General Assembly bills and work in new year | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Voting Rights / Democracy focus on General Assembly bills and work in new year

KFTC Voting Rights Strategy TeamWe had a January 9 Voting Rights Strategy Team meeting with 20 attendees, unpacking the political moment we’re in, celebrating our work last year to register people with felonies in their past, and winning a strong general election infrastructure. We set to work planning with a focus on the General Assembly. We also held a January 15 Voting Rights meeting where more than 50 people from 30 organizations joined to strengthen our coalition, build a shared analysis and make plans (both in the legislature and for field work). 

These are the pieces of legislation we’re interested in pushing most week-to-week and at our Virtual Lobby Day for Healthy Democracy on February 18.

  • HB 23 Semi-independent redistricting
  • HB 51 Extend voting hours to 7 p.m.
  • HB 72 "No excuse" absentee voting – by mail or in person before
  • HB 182 Same day voter registration, automatic voter registration, cleaning up some language
  • HB 232 Restoration of Voting Rights for people with felonies in their past.  

Rep. Jason Nemes is sponsoring HB 232, which is a strong Voting Rights Bill restoring the right to vote to nearly all people (excluding only people convicted of treason and voter fraud) after they’ve served their time.  If we can pass it this session, it’ll be on the ballot in November 2022, giving us lots of time to plan our field work to ratify it by a vote of the people. We’ll start by pushing to add cosponsors to the bill.  

Here are some of our upcoming events:

One basic thing all of us can do is call the Legislative Message Line to support HB 232 and get members of all of our organizations to do the same. This could have a huge impact. The number is 800-372-7181, (open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on days the legiuslature is in session, except still 6 on Fridays). The person will ask for your name and address and who you want to leave messages for. Good targets include your own representative and senator (they'll know who that is based on your address), "members of House State and Local Government Committee," "Senate Leadership," and "House Leadership." A simple message like "please support HB 232 to restore voting rights to people with felonies in their past" works great.

Our field work to build a voter base is largely paused right now, given the General Assembly, cold weather, COVID and a lack of an election this year, but we’ll be picking it up later with a focus on registering people with felonies in their past, training candidates and building a strong base.  

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