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

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.

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 ACLU-KY.org/ROVR 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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