FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The outgoing Democratic governor of Kentucky has signed an executive order to restore the right to vote and hold public office to thousands of non-violent felons who’ve served out their sentences.
Gov. Steve Beshear signed the order Tuesday. He leaves office next month.
Kentucky was one of four states that did not automatically restore voting rights to felons once they completed all the terms of their sentences. Around 180,000 in Kentucky have served their sentences yet remain banned from casting ballots.
The Kentucky legislature has tried and failed numerous times to pass a bill to restore voting rights to felons. The Republican-controlled Senate would agree only if there was a five-year waiting period, which Democrats refused.
Beshear’s order doesn’t include those convicted of violent crimes, sex offenses, bribery or treason.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.