Metro Council approves resolution in support of restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have

July 24, 2014

For Immediate Release:
Louisville Metro COuncil
Contact: Tony Hyatt 574-4137 / 526-3622
Stephen Haag 574-1204 / 645-1752

Louisville ? By a vote of 19 to 0, the Louisville Metro Council on Thursday night passed a resolution in support of restoring voting rights to convicted felons in Kentucky once they have served their time.
?I want to thank my colleagues for their support of this measure and now it is up to the General Assembly in Frankfort to put the question to voters,? said Councilwoman Attica Scott (D-1). ?If we are a compassionate city, then we must do what needs to be done to welcome back into society those who have paid their debt for crimes committed and are ready to become fully engaged in our democratic process.?
The resolution calls on state lawmakers to put forth a Constitutional Amendment for voter approval that would automatically restore voting rights to persons convicted of a felony and to make the process more automatic to restore the fundamental right to vote to those who have paid their debt to society to fully participate in the democratic process.
The measure follows language similar to House Bill 70 sponsored by State Representative Jessie Crenshaw of Lexington. His measure died in a legislative Conference Committee.
This resolution does exempt automatic restoration of voting rights for felons convicted of treason, bribery, intentional murder or sex crimes.
Joining Scott as sponsors of the resolution are Council members Barbara Shanklin (D-2), Mary C. Woolridge (D-3), David James (D-6), Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5), Tina Ward-Pugh (D-9), Rick Blackwell (D-12), Marianne Butler (D-15), David Tandy (D-4), Jerry T. Miller (R-19) Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13), Jim King (D-10),Tom Owen (D-8), Kelly Downard (R-16) Cindi Fowler (D-14) and Stuart Benson (D-20).
?There are many people who made wrong decisions in their life time and have served their time and made new lives for themselves. This change will let them know society is ready to have them become active again in the political process,? said Shanklin
"It is right that society should reinstate voting rights for felons once they have served out their term of punishment. While it is certainly a privilege to be able to cast a vote to elect the leaders for our city, state and country, voting is fundamentally a right guaranteed by our constitution. I am compelled by a sense of duty to do my part for those who have paid their debt and ensure their right is restored," said Ward-Pugh.
?My faith calls me to give people a second chance. I wholly support the restoration of voting rights to non-violent, first-time offenders,? said Miller.
"Restoring a person's voting rights following the successful completion of their criminal sentence is an important step in the journey of once again becoming a responsible and productive citizen in our Commonwealth. It is my hope that with this bi-partisan resolution the Jefferson County delegation, and indeed the entire General Assembly, will work to pass legislation which will do just that," said Tandy.
?People make bad choices and mistakes and when they do the time, except for what is laid out in the resolution, then society should not continue to punish them and their voting rights should be restored,? says Woolridge.
?With the Metro Council passing this resolution it will send a strong message to Frankfort that the time has come to address this issue and put it before the voters,? said Hamilton.