Update on House Bill 70 – The Former Felons’ Voting Rights Bill

House Bill 70, which allows a change in the Kentucky Constitution to permit former felons to automatically have their right to vote returned to them as soon as they pay their debt to society, did not become law this past session.  Even though the bill passed the House with little trouble, it never got a hearing in the Senate.  This happened to many worthwhile bills.  Time ran out and the session ended.  Our coalition, which supports automatically giving back the right to vote to former felons who have paid their debt to society, is already making plans for the next legislative session.  We hope to have a new version of HB 70 ready for the next legislative session.

However, if you are former felon and do not want to wait for the Kentucky legislature to act, you can apply for a partial pardon from the Governor under the law as it reads today, by first requesting restoration of your civil rights.  This is done by filling out a one-page form, sent to you by the Division of Probation and Parole.  The addrss is: Department of Corrections, Division of Probation & Parole, PO Box 2400, Frankfort, KY 40602-2400.  Attn: Restoration of Civil Rights.  It takes about two months for processing.  The former felon will get a certificate in the mail, which states that he/she has his/her right tovote restored plus a voter registration card.  When the voter registration card is filled out and sent to the County Clerk of the district in which the former felon lives, he/she can vote.

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