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Voting rights of former felons could be on the line in Kentucky's governor race

Much like the last two gubernatorial elections in Kentucky, whoever wins the race this year could determine whether tens of thousands of Kentuckians who have completed a felony sentence will have the right to vote over the next four years.

Kentucky is one of only three states where people convicted of a felony can only have their voting rights restored by actions of the governor, though two blanket executive orders — one of which was rescinded — affected the right to vote for a significant portion of the commonwealth's population over the past decade.

Just before leaving office, former Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order in November 2015 allowing at least 100,000 people who had fully completed their felony sentences for nonviolent or nonsexual crimes to file a form to restore their voting rights — which was then promptly rescinded by former Gov. Matt Bevin shortly after he took office.


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