Kentucky sees uptick in voter registration, ACLU making push for felons

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Secretary of State Michael Adams says the number of registered voters in Kentucky increased to 3,517,567 as of August 31, 2020.

Adams says in the past month, 19,626 people registered to vote, an increase of 0.56 percent.

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There are more registered Democrats than Republicans, according to Secretary Adams.

Currently, Democratic registrants represent 47.5 percent of the electorate with 1,670,789 registered voters. Democratic registration decreased by 5,954 since July 31, a 0.36 percent drop, according to Adams. Republican registrants total 1,533,095, or 43.6 percent of voters, with an increase of 21,274 registered voters, a gain of 1.41 percent since July 31, according to the Office of the Secretary of State.

Almost 9 percent of voters are represented under other affiliations, which saw an increase of 4,306 registrants, or a 1.39 percent growth since July 31, according to Secretary Adams.

He also says 34,967 voters have been removed from the voter rolls since he took office in January, including 2,724 in August who are felons, nonresidents or deceased.

“We are aggressively removing from our rolls voters who have moved away, passed away, or been put away,” Adams said.

Complete registration statistics are available on the State Board of Elections website, click here.

To register to vote online click here or contact the county clerk.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky has launched the most expansive voter registration and engagement campaign in its history, targeting the  175,000 Kentuckians with past felony convictions had their voting rights restored by executive order in December 2019. While these Kentuckians’ voting rights were automatically restored, they still must register to vote if they want to participate in the election.

ACLU-KY’s advocacy team has hired two campaign staff, Heather Ayer and Marcus Jackson, who are connecting with newly eligible voters to make sure they’ve heard the good news, know how to register to vote, and know how to cast a ballot. Heather and Marcus are reaching these Kentuckians through texts, phone calls, direct mail, social media advertisements, print advertisements, community organizations, and transit ads.

Until 2019, Kentucky was one of only two states to deny voting rights to all people with past felony convictions. This requirement prevented roughly 9% of otherwise eligible voters from exercising their rights. It disproportionately silenced Black Kentuckians, barring nearly 25% of otherwise eligible Black voters. The executive order is a significant step in the right direction; however, it leaves behind more than 65,000 Kentuckians and could be rescinded by a future governor’s order. ACLU-KY will continue working the Kentucky General Assembly to permanently remove this draconian measure from the Kentucky Constitution.

All people whose voting rights were restored have either completed their entire sentence, probation, and parole, or have completed their entire sentence and remain on probation or parole only because of unpaid fines or restitution. The order does not apply to people who were convicted of felonies related to bribery; treason; sex offenses; some “violent” offenses, as defined by Kentucky law; out of state; or under federal law.

Anyone with a past felony conviction can visit to learn more, see if their rights were restored, register to vote by October 5, and request a mail-in absentee ballot by October 9. Checking the voting rights status is free and online.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.