Voting rights have been restored to more than 100,000 ex-felons in this state

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Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear restored voting rights to more than 100,000 ex-felons in his state on Tuesday, Mother Jones reports.


The governor signed an executive order that will allow ex-felons convicted of nonviolent offenses to submit a form that would lead to re-enfranchisement.

During a press conference todat, Beshear explained why "this disenfranchisement makes no sense":

It makes no sense because it dilutes the energy of democracy which functions only if all classes and categories of people have a voice, not just the privileged, powerful few. It makes no sense because it defeats a primary goal of our corrections system, which is the rehabilitate those who have committed crimes and return them to contributing members of that society. It makes no sense because research shows that ex-inmates who vote are less likely to go to prison.

The executive order will not apply to ex-felons convicted of sex crimes, other violent crimes, or treason, Mother Jones says.

The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that as many as 170,000 residents of Kentucky will be affected by the order, with as many as 140,000 immediately eligible to re-apply for enfranchisement. The Center also notes that the prior restriction on ex-felon voting rights disproportionately affected black citizens of the state, with approximately 16.7% of black Kentuckians being unable to vote before.

The governor-elect of Kentucky, Matt Bevin—who will take office in December—could conceivably repeal Governor Beshear's order. But Bevin supports the re-enfranchisement, The Associated Press reports.

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