Rally for a Healthy Democracy | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Press Contact: 
Debra Graner
KFTC Member

Rally for a Healthy Democracy
We are Kentuckians and we’re Fighting to Build a Democracy.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 4, 1 p.m. ET

LOCATION: State capitol rotunda, Frankfort

WHO: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and ally groups

Legislators have a clear choice to make voting convenient and accessible for all Kentucky citizens rather than creating new barriers and excluding thousands.

Those choices will be highlighted during a 1 p.m. rally on Wednesday, March 4, in the Capitol rotunda sponsored by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, the League of Women Voters, the Kentucky Poor People's Campaign and others. 

The groups are calling for action on legislation that builds a government responsive to constituents and that the people can trust. That means restoration of voting rights for all Kentuckians with felonies in their past, same-day voter registration, access to voting for Kentucky citizens without photo IDs, fairly drawn redistricting maps, and more.

Members of KFTC and other groups like the League of Women Voters and the Poor People’s Campaign will meet with legislators throughout the day starting at 8:30 a.m., and also register voters at the capitol building and annex.

In particular, voter registration tables will help people understand who got their right to vote back through Governor Beshear’s executive action last year and who did not.  

The rally at 1 p.m. will focus on putting pressure on the legislature to pass key reforms and stop bills that make it harder to vote (listed below).  Most speakers are Kentuckians with felonies in their past telling their personal stories.  

Speakers will arrive early or stay after for media interviews.


CONTACTS: Here are three available for phone interviews to tell their stories.

  • Debra Graner, Frankfort - 502-352-1031

  • Alaina Combs, Louisville - 502-263-9541

  • Shelton McElroy, Louisville - 502-415-4179


For Further Information:

Dave Newton - Kentuckians For The Commonwealth Democracy Organizer. Available for issue background only, 859-420-8919.


Further background and framing

Kentuckians in every county, no matter what we look like or how much money we make, know that our democracy works best when elections are free and fair. When more of us have a say at the ballot box, we can elect leaders who will stand up for all of us and our vision for the commonwealth.

Throughout our history, we’ve fought to expand the right to vote to working class people, to Black men and to women. And at every turn, a handful of people have tried to deny the promise of equal rights – dividing us against each other. We have the chance to continue that legacy by respecting the right to vote of every Kentuckian, no matter what we look like, our gender, or our past mistakes. We can make Kentucky a place where democracy includes all of us, no exceptions. 

Bill stances:

FOR: House Bill 6, which would amend the Kentucky Constitution to restore voting rights people with felonies in their past once their sentence is completed. It would send the amendment to Kentucky voters for ratification.  This bill has 20 co-sponsors in the House including two Republicans.  

FOR: House Bill 326, which would create a fifteen-member Advisory Redistricting Commission to use statewide input to develop district lines. While the General Assembly would still make the final decision, legislators would consider Commission’s recommendations first and ask the Commission for revisions second, with an option of developing its own plan after completing those steps. The goal is to develop fair maps based on wide public input.

FOR: House Bill 81, which would make each application for a driver's license also an application for voter registration, unless the person declines.  Eighteen other states already have automatic voter registration, which has shown to universally increase voter registration numbers.

FOR: House Bill 80, which would allow Kentuckians to register to vote at their polling location on election day.  Seventeen states already have same-day voter registration, which particularly helps people who move close to election day or young people to vote.

AGAINST: Senate Bill 62, which proposes to restore voting rights only to folks with certain felony convictions. However, the bill doesn't actually give Kentuckians the right to vote back. Rather, it makes it so that the legislature can decide to give some people their right to vote back if they decide to do so through more legislation, but almost all of the people that could possibly get the right to vote that way already got their right to vote back through Governor Beshear's Executive Action.

AGAINST: Senate Bill 2, which makes it harder for Kentucky citizens without a photo ID to vote.  Many Kentuckians, particularly elderly Kentuckians, students, and lower income Kentuckians don’t have photo IDs and we should be making it easier for citizens to vote, not harder.  This purports to stop people from impersonating other voters on election day, but no one has been accused of that this century.  It’s a solution without a problem.

FOR: House Bill 111, which would require candidates for statewide offices to publicly release five years of tax returns.

Speakers (subject to change):

  • Serena Owen (NKY)

  • Debbie Graner (Frankfort)

  • Alaina Combs (Louisville)

  • Shelton McElroy (Louisville)

  • Roger Fox (Lexington)

  • Bill Rone (Lexington)

  • Richard Petro (WKY)

  • Cindy Heine (Fair Maps) (Lexington)

  • Aubrey Clemmons (Louisville)

  • Rep Charles Booker (Louisville)

  • Savvy Shabazz (Louisville) 

  • Xavier Fogle (Louisville) 

  • Arnold Farr (Lexington) 

  • Richard Young (NKY)

  • Juan Gomez (Lexington)

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Issue Area(s):