In one of his first moves after being sworn in, Democrat Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has restored voting rights to over 140k felons.
A lot of emotions as Gov. Beshear welcomes convicted felons to join him as he signs the executive order. It will restore rights to more than 140,000 people in Kentucky. @LEX18News pic.twitter.com/WcelotOTco
— Eleanor Buckley (@elbuckleyTV) December 12, 2019
Per Axios, Iowa is now the only state in the country with a lifetime ban on voting for anyone convicted of a felony. Convicted felons in Kentucky previously had to seek clemency from the governor on an individual basis.
- The League of Women Voters of Kentucky issued a report in January that some 312,000 people feel disenfranchised because of felony convictions.
Between the lines: Beshear appears to be following in his father’s footsteps, former Gov. Steve Beshear (D), who signed an executive order just before leaving office in 2015 to restore voting rights to more than 100,00 convicted felons.
- That order would’ve applied to those who’d “completed their sentences and paid all of their court-ordered restitution,” but his successor, former Gov. Matt Bevin (R), suspended the order days after taking office, per the Lexington Herald-Leader.
What he’s saying: Kentucky’s new governor explained his decision during his inaugural address, saying his faith “teaches me to treat others with dignity and respect.”
- “My faith also teaches me forgiveness,” he said. “That’s why on Thursday I will sign an executive order restoring voting rights to over 100,000 men and women who have done wrong in the past but are doing right now. They deserve to participate in our great democracy.”