Media

February 6, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, Co-Presidents

 502-875-6481 or  kentuckylwv@gmail.com 

 2017 Report: Kentucky Felony Voting Law Bars OVER 312,000 From Polls;

126,000 MORE BANNED SINCE 2006 REPORT

  • Kentucky one of four states to ban former felons from voting
  • Kentucky #3 in rate of disenfranchisement
  • Kentucky #1 in disenfranchisement of African Americans
  • 312,000 currently disenfranchised, 126,000 more than reported in 2006 study

 Frankfort, KY – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky released a state report today, Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky showing Kentucky has the third highest rate of citizens and the highest rate of African Americans who have lost their right to vote despite completing their full felony sentence. This report is an updated version of similar studies conducted in 2006 and 2013.

According to the report, Kentucky is one of only four states to enforce lifetime voting bans on all persons with felony convictions resulting in the disenfranchisement of over 312,000 residents. This is an increase of more than 68,000 since the figures reported by the League in 2013 and 126,000 since the 2006 report.

One of every 11 adults in Kentucky is ineligible to vote due to a previous felony conviction, a rate of 9.1 percent, nearly three times the national average of 2.47 percent or one in 40. Among African Americans, almost one in four is disenfranchised, a rate of 26.2 percent, more than triple the national rate of 9.1 percent.  The report also finds that 92 percent of those disenfranchised live in the community and 78 percent have completed their full sentence.

In 2001, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation to simplify voter restoration for people with previous convictions resulting in an increase in restoration of voting rights, from 831 in 2000 to 1,231 in 2003.  After a 2004 change in gubernatorial policy requiring an essay and three character references, there was a dramatic decline in applications and approvals to 164 in 2006.  Changes in 2008 with a new governor, resulted in an improvement in the numbers, 10,479 between 2008 and 2015.

In 2015, then-Gov. Steve Beshear issued an order that restored voting rights to individuals with non-violent felony convictions who had completed their sentences and met other criteria. That order also established a process by which qualifying citizens’ voting rights would be restored as they completed their sentences. In late 2015 Gov. Matt Bevin rescinded that order and replaced it with Kentucky’s prior procedure. That procedure requires individuals who have completed their full sentence to submit an application detailing their convictions and sentences served. As of October 2016, no restoration orders had been issued.

Enactment of House Bill 40 in 2016 allowed persons with certain Class D felony convictions to have those convictions vacated and expunged. Since the law took effect in July, fewer than 389 persons have had their voting rights restored.

The League has a longstanding belief that “voting is a fundamental expression of citizenship and every citizen of our Commonwealth should be protected in the right to vote,” according to the new report.   Kentucky League co-president, Dr. Terry Naydan said, “When we show felons who have paid their debt to society that they are allowed to vote, we are saying that they are citizens again. Studies show that the rate of recidivism goes down when a felon feels he/she can fully participate in our democracy.”

League recommendations include providing:

  • A ballot measure to allow Kentucky voters to decide whether people living in the community and who have completed their full sentence have their voting rights restored automatically
  • Increased assistance to eligible persons with the restoration of voting rights application process
  • Increasing public education about the process of restoring voting rights and available resources to help those wishing to vote
  • Annual release of data on the number of people applying for restoration of voting rights and expungement of felony records and the number approved and denied
  • Reduction and/or waiver of the $500 application fee for expungement of felony records.

“The League was created by women who struggled many years seeking the right to vote,” said Nita Smith, co-president of the state League. “We believe citizens who have made a mistake should have that right reinstated once they have completed their full sentence and/or parole. The League of Women Voters believes that our society is stronger when all of our citizens vote.”

The state League of Women Voters takes positions only after deliberation and consensus from local Leagues across the state.

The report, Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky: A Report of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, February 2017 along with the 2006 and 2013 reports are available at lwvky.org/about/publications/.

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  Members include both women and men.

______________________________________________________________

October 4, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Terry Naydan, co-president 502-875-6481

Nita Smith, co-president, 859-948-4541

Cindy Heine, Candidate Debate Coordinator, 859-351-9419

U.S. Senate debate canceled

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The League of Women Voters of Kentucky has canceled its planned U.S. Senate debate between Sen. Rand Paul and his challenger Lexington Mayor Jim Gray after Paul declined to participate. Gray had accepted the invitation.

The debate was scheduled for October 30 at the University of Kentucky and was to be broadcast live on WKYT in Lexington, WLKY in Louisville, and other television stations serving the state.  Other sponsors of the debate included The Lexington Herald-Leader and University of Kentucky Student Government.

“Research conducted on voter behavior and participation shows that not only does the public expect candidates to participate in voter education activities but it also found that voters are more likely to vote when they know who the candidates are and where they stand on issues,” said Dr. Terry Naydan, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky. When candidates choose not to participate, it is a loss for the voters.”

Invitations for the debate were first sent to the Republican senator and his Democratic opponent shortly after the May primaries.

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.

# # # #

_______________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release

Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, co-presidents 502-875-6481

or Cindy Heine, Candidate Forum/Debate Coordinator 859-351-9419

May 31, 2016

US SENATE CANDIDATES INVITED TO TELEVISED DEBATE OCTOBER 30

LEXINGTON, KY-The League of Women Voters of Kentucky has issued an invitation to US Senate candidates, Jim Gray (D) and Rand Paul (R) to participate in a televised debate on Sunday, October 30, 2016. The debate will be held at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center in Lexington.  Co-sponsors with the League for this event are the Lexington Herald-Leader, University of Kentucky Student Government and CBS affiliates WLKY-TV, Louisville and WKYT-TV, Lexington.

 

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.

_____________________________________________________________

 February 25, 2016

 For Immediate Release

Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, co-presidents 502-875-6481

Or Cindy Heine, Publicity Chair 859-351-9419

VOTE in the MARCH 5 Republican Presidential Caucus and MARCH 8 Special Election

Louisville, KY– The League of Women Voters works to engage citizens in the democratic process and is alerting citizens about two upcoming opportunities to vote for their elected officials.

The Kentucky Republican Presidential Caucus, scheduled on Saturday, March 5, will be the only opportunity for Republicans to cast their ballots to determine who will run on the Republican ticket for president of the United States. The caucus is a new and unfamiliar process for Kentucky and the League wants to be sure citizens understand how they can vote.

Kentucky voters must have been registered as Republicans by December 31, 2015, to be eligible to vote in the caucus, which will be held Saturday, March 5 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. local time.  Voting locations differ from usual polling places, so citizens should check the Republican Party web site for the location in their county. (rpk.org/caucus/) The only candidates on the Caucus ballot will be those running for president for the Republican nominee. Primary elections for all other candidates will be held Tuesday, May 17.

A special election is scheduled on Tuesday, March 8 to fill four vacancies in the Kentucky House of Representatives. They include:

District 8 (parts of Trigg and Christian counties)

District 54 (Boyle and Casey counties)

District 62 (Owen and parts of Scott and Northern Fayette counties)

District 98 (Greenup and part of Boyd counties)

Polls for the special election will be open Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. All registered voters in these districts may vote in this special election. County clerks will have information about voting locations.

“We hope that all Kentucky registered Republicans will make their voices heard by voting in the presidential caucus on March 5th” said co-president Terry Naydan. “This will be their only  opportunity to choose the standard bearer for their party for this most important presidential election. We also hope all registered voters will vote in this important special election to fill House vacancies.”

 

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.

 

                                                                           # # # # 

_________________________________________________________

October 21, 2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, League Co-presidents 502-875-6481

Cindy Heine, League Candidate Debate Coordinator 859-351-9419

Kristi Middleton, EKU’s Chief External Affairs Officer (kristi.middleton@eku.edu  or 859-622-1597).

Candidates for Governor to participate in October 25 televised debate at EKU

In addition to the debate airing live from 6 to 7 p.m. on WLKY in Louisville and WKYT in Lexington, both stations will stream live coverage on their websites (wlky.com and wkyt.com). 

RICHMOND, Ky. The League of Women Voters of Kentucky will host a debate between the two front-runners in the race for governor with co-sponsors Eastern Kentucky University and CBS affiliates WLKY-TV of Louisville and WKYT-TV of Lexington. Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway have agreed to participate at the event on:

    Sunday, October 25, 2015, 6 to 7 p.m. (ET)

Center for the Arts, Eastern Kentucky University

1 Hall Drive

Richmond, Kentucky 

WKYT anchor and political editor Bill Bryant and WLKY anchor Vicki Dortch will lead the hour-long discussion of key issues impacting Kentuckians. League policy will be followed.

The public may submit questions for the candidates on Twitter at #KyDebate.
“Eastern Kentucky University and our Center for the Arts are proud to partner with the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, WKYT and WLKY and their broadcast partners across the Commonwealth to provide voters the opportunity to hear directly from our gubernatorial candidates,” said President Michael Benson. “The EKU Center is an ideal venue to host such events, and we look forward to hosting many more in the years to come.”

“WLKY is excited to partner with WKYT to bring you a live HD broadcast of our debate featuring the leading candidates for Governor. We look forward to a packed house at EKU as the candidates discuss the critical issues facing Kentucky,” said Vicki Dortch. Hearst Television/WLKY has been honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism eight consecutive years for its commitment to covering local political issues.

“WKYT is proud to partner with WLKY and the League of Women Voters of Kentucky for the debates between candidates in the races for both governor and lieutenant governor,” said WKYT anchor and political editor Bill Bryant.  “We look forward to a thorough discussion of the important issues facing Kentuckians in one of the final televised gubernatorial debates.”

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is pleased to co-sponsor a debate between candidates for the office of Governor,” said Terry Naydan, co-president of the state League.  “We trust this debate will help inform our electorate about the important issues of the day in an interesting format. We hope many citizens will tune in to inform themselves about the candidates and where they stand on many topics.”

Tickets are free but seating is reserved. To obtain tickets, visit www.EKUCenter.com or call the EKU Center for the Arts Box Office at 859-622-7469. The EKU Center for the Arts Box Office is open weekdays 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Tickets for groups of 8 or more are available by phone. On Oct. 25, the lobby opens at 4:00 p.m., doors to the theater open at 5 p.m., and seating ends as the theater doors close at 5:30 p.m.
In addition to WLKY and WKYT, other television stations serving Kentucky that plan to air the debate on one of their broadcast channels include WYMT in Hazard; WBKO in Bowling Green; WPSD in Paducah; WLWT in Cincinnati; and WSAZ in Huntington.

Media information

WLKY in Louisville, WKYT in Lexington, the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky University are hosting the gubernatorial debate.

Media credentials may be obtained by contacting Chelsea Compton, EKU Center for the Arts at (859-622-7471), no later than noon Friday, October 23.

A media room with mult box will be available with live feed of the debate for credentialed media. Theater seating will also be reserved for media.

Time will be provided in the media room after the debate for credentialed media for interviews with the candidates.

Other media will be allowed to cover the debate, but space is limited.  There will be limited space for parking a satellite or microwave van and access to recording the debate on site. Outside cameras will not be allowed inside the theater during the debate. 

Other media recording the debate must abide by the following restrictions: 

  • Can only use up to three minutes of video or audio in total in regularly scheduled newscasts.
  • Television stations in the Louisville market must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WLKY.
  • Radio stations in the Louisville market must give verbal courtesy to WLKY.
  • Television stations in the Lexington market must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WKYT.
  • Radio stations in the Lexington market must give verbal courtesy to WKYT.
  • TV stations outside the Lexington and Louisville markets must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WLKY-WKYT.
  • Radio Stations outside the Lexington and Louisville markets must give verbal courtesy to WLKY and WKYT.

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.

                                                                     -end-

______________________________________________________________

October 5, 2015

For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, League Co-presidents 502-875-6481
Cindy Heine, League Candidate Debate Coordinator 859-351-9419
Kristi Middleton, EKU’s Chief External Communication Officer (kristi.middleton@eku.edu or 859-622-1597).

Candidates for Governor to participate in October 25 televised debate

In addition to the debate airing live from 6 to 7 p.m. on WLKY in Louisville and WKYT in Lexington, both stations will stream live coverage on their websites (wlky.com and wkyt.com).

RICHMOND, Ky. The League of Women Voters of Kentucky will host a debate between the two front-runners in the race for governor with co-sponsors Eastern Kentucky University and CBS affiliates WLKY-TV of Louisville and WKYT-TV of Lexington. Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway have agreed to participate at the event on:

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 6 to 7 p.m. (ET)
Center for the Arts, Eastern Kentucky University
1 Hall Drive
Richmond, Kentucky

WKYT anchor and political editor Bill Bryant and WLKY anchor Vicki Dortch will lead the hour-long discussion of key issues impacting Kentuckians. League policy will be followed.

“Eastern Kentucky University and our Center for the Arts are proud to partner with the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, WKYT and WLKY and their broadcast partners across the Commonwealth to provide voters the opportunity to hear directly from our gubernatorial candidates,” said President Michael Benson. “The EKU Center is an ideal venue to host such events, and we look forward to hosting many more in the years to come.”

“WLKY is excited to partner with WKYT to bring you a live HD broadcast of our debate featuring the leading candidates for Governor. We look forward to a packed house at EKU as the candidates discuss the critical issues facing Kentucky,” said Vicki Dortch. Hearst Television/WLKY has been honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism eight consecutive years for its commitment to covering local political issues.

“WKYT is proud to partner with WLKY and the League of Women Voters of Kentucky for the debates between candidates in the races for both governor and lieutenant governor,” said WKYT anchor and political editor Bill Bryant. “We look forward to a thorough discussion of the important issues facing Kentuckians in one of the final televised gubernatorial debates.”

“The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is pleased to co-sponsor a debate between candidates for the office of Governor,” said Terry Naydan, co-president of the state League. “We trust this debate will help inform our electorate about the important issues of the day in an interesting format. We hope many citizens will tune in to inform themselves about the candidates and where they stand on many topics.”

Tickets are free but seating is reserved. To obtain tickets, visit http://www.EKUCenter.com or call the EKU Center for the Arts Box Office at 859-622-7469. The EKU Center for the Arts Box Office is open weekdays 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Tickets for groups of 8 or more are available by phone. On Oct. 25, doors open at 5 p.m., and seating ends as the theater doors close at 5:30 p.m.

In addition to WLKY and WKYT, other television stations serving Kentucky that plan to air the debate on one of their broadcast channels include WYMT in Hazard; WBKO in Bowling Green; WPSD in Paducah; WLWT in Cincinnati; and WSAZ in Huntington.

Media information
WLKY in Louisville, WKYT in Lexington, the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky University are hosting the gubernatorial debate.
Other media will be allowed to cover the debate, but space is limited. There will be limited space for parking a satellite or microwave van and access to recording the debate on site. Outside cameras will not be allowed inside the theater during the debate.
Other media recording the debate must abide by the following restrictions:
· Can only use up to three minutes of video or audio in total in regularly scheduled newscasts.
· Television stations in the Louisville market must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WLKY.
· Radio stations in the Louisville market must give verbal courtesy to WLKY.
· Television stations in the Lexington market must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WKYT.
· Radio stations in the Lexington market must give verbal courtesy to WKYT.
· TV stations outside the Lexington and Louisville markets must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WLKY-WKYT.
· Radio Stations outside the Lexington and Louisville markets must give verbal courtesy to WLKY and WKYT.

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.

-end-

____________________________________________________________________

September 17, 2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, Co-presidents 502-875- 6481 or
Cindy Heine, League Candidate Debate Coordinator 859-351-9419

Lt. Governor candidates Hampton and Overly to participate in a September 23 televised debate

The debate will stream live from 7 to 8 p.m. on wkyt.com and wlky.com. Television viewers in the Louisville area may watch the debate at 7 p.m. live on MeTV Louisville. Lexington area viewers may watch the debate at 10 p.m. on The CW Lexington.

MIDWAY, Ky. – Midway University, the League of Women Voters of Kentucky and CBS affiliates WKYT-TV, Lexington and WLKY-TV, Louisville, will host a debate for candidates for lieutenant governor, Jenean Hampton (R ) and Sannie Overly (D) on:

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00-8:00 p.m. (EST)
Midway University’s Anne Hart Raymond Building Auditorium
512 East Stephens Street
Midway, Kentucky

Bill Bryant, WKYT anchor and political editor, and Vicki Dortch, WLKY anchor, will moderate the debate leading an hour of questioning on key issues impacting Kentuckians. League of Women Voters’ policy will be followed. Candidates will have a set amount of time for opening, responding to questions and closing statements. They will be asked the same questions with time for discussion and rebuttal.

“This debate with women candidates for lieutenant governor, held at the state’s only Women’s College and with the League of Women Voters of Kentucky as one of the co-sponsors, is an historic event,” said Terry Naydan, co-president of the state League. “It will help inform citizens before they go the polls in November.”

Midway University President John P. Marsden said, “Midway University is pleased to serve as the host for the Lt. Governor debate. As Kentucky’s only Women’s College it is important for us to bring events like this to our campus. It gives our students the opportunity to learn firsthand about the issues these candidates support. To have two strong female candidates participating also gives our students a glimpse of the increased role women are playing in the political process.”

Hearst Television/WLKY has been honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism eight consecutive years for its commitment to covering local political issues. “WLKY is committed to helping our viewers hear from the candidates in every upcoming election. We are excited about this opportunity to hear from two women running for Lieutenant Governor,” said Vicki Dortch.

“WKYT is proud to partner with WLKY and the Kentucky League of Women Voters for debates between candidates in the races for both governor and lieutenant governor,” said WKYT anchor and political editor Bill Bryant. “During the debate in the lieutenant governor’s race, we look forward to a thorough discussion of the important issues facing Kentuckians.”

The audience is limited to students and guests of the candidates and sponsors.

Media Information
WLKY in Louisville, WKYT in Lexington, the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, and Midway University are hosting the lt. governor debate.
Other media will be allowed to cover the debate, but space is limited. There will be limited space for parking a satellite or microwave van.
Other media recording the debate must abide by the following restrictions:
• Can only use up to three minutes of video or audio in total in regularly scheduled newscasts.
• Television stations in the Louisville market must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WLKY.
• Radio stations in the Louisville market must give verbal courtesy to WLKY.
• Television stations in the Lexington market must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WKYT.
• Radio stations in the Lexington market must give verbal courtesy to WKYT.
• TV stations outside the Lexington and Louisville markets must give verbal and on screen graphic courtesy to WLKY-WKYT.
• Radio Stations outside the Lexington and Louisville markets must give verbal courtesy to WLKY and WKYT.
• Websites in the Louisville market can post up to three minutes of the debate in total with a courtesy to WLKY.
• Websites in the Lexington market can post up to three minutes of the debate in total with a courtesy to WKYT.
• Websites outside the Lexington and Louisville markets can post up to three minutes of the debate in total with a courtesy to WLKY-WKYT.

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.
-end-

_______________________________________________________

August 25, 2015

For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry Naydan or Nita Smith, Co-presidents 502-875- 6481 or
Cindy Heine, League Candidate Debate Coordinator 859-351-9419

Hampton, Overly to participate in a televised candidate debate September 23

Debate will air live on WLKY-TV at 7:00 p.m.; WKYT-TV will air it at 10:00 p.m. on The CW Lexington (channel 27.2); both stations will stream it live.

MIDWAY, Ky. – Candidates for lieutenant governor, Jenean Hampton (R) and Sannie Overly (D) will appear in a televised debate, co-sponsored by Midway University, CBS affiliates WKYT-TV, Lexington and WLKY-TV, Louisville and the League of Women Voters of Kentucky on:

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00-8:00 p.m. (EST)
Midway University’s Anne Hart Raymond Building Auditorium
512 East Stephens Street
Midway, Kentucky

The debate will be conducted following League policies. Bill Bryant, WKYT anchor and political editor, and Vicki Dortch, WLKY anchor, will moderate the debate leading an hour of questioning on key issues impacting Kentuckians. Candidates will have a set amount of time for opening, answering questions and closing statements. They will be asked the same questions with time for discussion and rebuttal.

WLKY will air the debate live from 7:00-8:00 p.m. WKYT will air the debate at 10 p.m. September 23 on The CW Lexington (channel 27.2). The debate will be streamed live on WKYT and WLKY websites.

Midway University President John P. Marsden said, ““Midway University is pleased to serve as the host for the Lt. Governor debate. As Kentucky’s only Women’s College it is important for us to bring events like this to our campus. It gives our students the opportunity to learn firsthand about the issues these candidates support. To have two strong female candidates participating also gives our students a glimpse of the increased role women are playing in the political process.”

Hearst Television/WLKY has been honored with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism eight consecutive years for its commitment to covering local political issues. “WLKY is committed to helping our viewers hear from the candidates in every upcoming election. We are excited about this opportunity to hear from the two women running for Lieutenant Governor,” said Vicki Dortch.

“WKYT is proud to partner with WLKY and the Kentucky League of Women Voters for debates between candidates in the races for both governor and lieutenant governor,” said WKYT anchor and political editor Bill Bryant. “During the debate in the lieutenant governor’s race, we look forward to a thorough discussion of the important issues facing Kentuckians.”

“The members of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky are delighted to co-sponsor a debate between the candidates for Lt. Governor,” said Terry Naydan, League co-president. “In order to make Democracy work, we need an informed and engaged electorate. We expect that this debate will explore the important issues that confront the citizens of Kentucky in an interesting and informative format. We hope citizens will tune in and judge for themselves about which candidate is the most qualified to be the next Lt. Governor.”

The League of Women Voters of Kentucky is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. The League does not endorse, or oppose, political candidates or parties.

-end-

__________________________________________________________________________

April 27, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Cindy Heine, Publicity Co-chair

502-875-6481

KentuckyLWV@gmail.com

STATE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ELECTS NEW OFFICERS

SHAKER VILLAGE at PLEASANT HILL, KY. – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky elected new officers at its April 11 biennial convention at Shaker Village. Terry Naydan, Ed.D. and Nita Smith, both of Lexington, were elected as co-presidents; Bonnie Lynch, Hopkinsville, was elected first vice-president; Steve Senft of Lexington was elected second vice-president; Fran Wagner, Louisville was elected secretary and Richard Heine, Lexington was elected treasurer. They will serve two-year terms.

The members agreed to a program including a review of the legislative oversight of Kentucky’s state-funded pension system; follow up on Kentucky’s recently adopted social studies frameworks with a focus on civics; and a review of issues related to the judicial system to determine a more targeted approach for future study and/or action.

A panel including Senator Whitney Westerfield, Christian County, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gretchen Hunt, Staff Attorney with the KY Association of Sexual Assault Programs and Neil Ward, Bell County Attorney, discussed House Bill 8, the so-called dating violence bill, enacted in the 2015 legislative session. They shared the extent of domestic violence in Kentucky and the need for expansion of emergency protective orders. Senator Westerfield described the bi-partisan work on the bill over several sessions, resulting in support from both chambers.

Members also heard from Melissa Currence, the former co-chair of the national LWV Young People Task Force. As a young member from Cincinnati, Ms. Currence shared trends related to the interests and needs of younger people as League members seek to engage younger members in their work.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization of women and men who work to educate and involve citizens in government. The League does not support or oppose candidates for office or political parties.

________________________________________________________________________

April 10, 2015

Contact:

Tammy Fagley or Cindy Heine, 502-875-6481 or 859-351-9419

State Convention to Hear from Senator Whitney Westerfield

LEXINGTON, KY. – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky will hold its biennial convention at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill this weekend, April 10-11, 2015.  Members will hear about expanding domestic violence and House Bill 8, the ‘dating violence’ bill from a panel including Senator Whitney Westerfield, (R ) Christian County, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gretchen Hunt, Staff Attorney with the KY Association of Sexual Assault Programs and Neil Ward, Bell County Attorney.

Members will also hear from Melissa Currence, League member in Cincinnati and former co-chair of the LWVUS Young People Task Force. Ms. Currence will speak about Building the League of the Future. The panel is scheduled beginning at 1:15 p.m. (ET) and Ms. Currence will speak at the lunch hour, both at the West Family Wash House at Shakertown.

The League of Women Voters is a non partisan organization of women and men who work to educate and involve citizens in government. The League does not support or oppose candidates for office or political parties.

_________________________________________________________________________________

February 25, 2014

Contact: Tammy Fagley or Cindy Heine, Co-presidents – 502-875-6481

2014 Analysis of HB 70 as amended affects voting rights of over 100,000

  • Kentucky one of four most restrictive states banning former felons from voting
  • Original provisions of HB 70 automatically restore rights to about 180,000 individuals if Constitutional amendment approved
  • HB 70 as amended requires 5-year waiting period and imposes other restrictions denying or delaying restoration of voting rights for 100,000 individuals                              
  • Amendments put undo burden on election officials

Frankfort, KY – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky released “An Analysis of the Impact of HB 70 and Proposed Amendments Regarding Voting Rights for Persons with Felony Convictions” today. Under House Bill 70 as originally proposed, permanent disenfranchisement would be eliminated for all but a handful of offenses and all rights would be restored at completion of sentence. Amendments introduced in the Senate last week, would substantially limit the number of individuals who would benefit from the policy change, as well as create greater administrative burdens for election officials. It is estimated that as many as 55% of the ex-felon population currently disenfranchised in Kentucky would continue to be excluded from the automatic rights restoration process if these amendments were enacted and the proposed Constitutional amendment are approved by voters.According to a 2013 League report Kentucky has the third highest rate of citizens and the second highest rate of African Americans who have lost their right to vote despite completing their full felony sentence. According to the recent analysis, of the 180,000 former felons who have completed their sentences and who would have voting rights restored under original provisions of HB 70, 100,000 would be adversely affected by these amendments. Kentucky’s disenfranchisement policies are harsh compared to most states. Neighboring states Illinois, Indiana and Ohio restore voting rights immediately upon release from prison, and Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia restore rights upon completion of probation or parole supervision. None of these states impose any restrictions on the right to vote for any offense after completion of sentence. The amendments to HB 70 impose a five-year waiting period after sentencing has been completed and disqualify anyone with more than one felony conviction from automatic restoration of voting rights. These limits would create an undue burden for County Clerks who would be obligated to certify that individuals had completed the full waiting period, a challenging task. The League has a longstanding belief that every citizen of our Commonwealth should be protected in the right to vote. Legislative co-chair of the state League, Terry Naydan said, “The League supports HB 70 without amendments as we seek to increase citizen participation in our state’s electoral process, as most other states have done.” “The League was created by women who struggled many years seeking the right to vote,” said Cindy Heine, League co-president. “We believe citizens who have made a mistake should have that right reinstated once they have completed their full sentence and/or parole.” The state League of Women Voters takes positions only after deliberation and consensus from local Leagues across the state. “An Analysis of the Impact of HB 70 and Proposed Amendments Regarding Voting Rights for Persons with Felony Convictions,” February 2014; Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky: a Report of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, January 2013 and October 2006 are available at lwvky.org/about/publications/.

_______________________________________________________________________

FEBRUARY 11, 2013

Contact: Cindy Heine, Co-President 502-875-6481

2013 Report: Kentucky Felony Voting Law Bars Over 243,000 From Polls

• Kentucky one of four states to ban former felons from voting
• Kentucky #3 in rate of disenfranchisement
• Kentucky #2 in disenfranchisement of African Americans
• 243,000 currently disenfranchised, 57,000 more than reported in 2006 study

Frankfort, KY – The League of Women Voters of Kentucky released a state report today, Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, showing Kentucky has the third highest rate of citizens and the second highest rate of African Americans who have lost their right to vote despite completing their full felony sentence. This report is an updated version of a similar 2006 study.

According to the report, Kentucky is one of only four states to enforce lifetime voting bans on all persons with felony convictions resulting in the disenfranchisement of over 243,000 residents. This is an increase of more than 57,000 since the figures reported by the League in 2006.

One of every 14 adults in Kentucky is ineligible to vote due to a previous felony conviction, a rate of 7.35 percent, nearly three times the national rate of 2.5 percent. Among African Americans, almost one in five is disenfranchised, a rate of 22.3 percent, nearly triple the national rate of 7.66 percent. The report also finds that 90 percent of those disenfranchised live in the community, and 74 percent have completed their full sentence.

In 2001, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation to simplify voter restoration for people with previous convictions resulting in an increase in restoration of voting rights, from 831 in 2000 to 1,231 in 2003. After a 2004 change in gubernatorial policy requiring an essay and three character references, there was a dramatic decline in applications and approvals to 164 in 2006. Those requirements were changed in 2008 with a new governor, resulting in an improvement in the numbers, 4,260 between 2008 and 2010. According to the report, the “difficulty of having voting rights restored greatly depends on the values or political positions of the current governor,” allowing for inconsistent and inequitable policies.

The League has a longstanding belief that “every citizen of our Commonwealth should be protected in the right to vote,” according to the new report. Kentucky League co-president, Cindy Heine said. “Our report emphasizes that the LWV in Kentucky seeks to increase citizen participation in our nation’s democracy through voting, including felons who have completed their sentence.”

League recommendations include:

• A ballot measure to allow Kentucky voters to decide whether people living in the community and who have completed their full sentence have their voting rights restored automatically.

• Reexamining and improving the current application process for restoration of voting rights.

• Providing assistance in the voter restoration process three months prior to an individual’s completion of sentence.

• Increasing public education about the process of restoring voting rights and available resources to help those wishing to vote.

• Annual release of data on the number of people applying for and being granted restoration of voting rights.

“The League was created by women who struggled many years seeking the right to vote,” said Heine. “We believe citizens who have made a mistake, should have that right reinstated once they have completed their full sentence and/or parole.”

The state League of Women Voters takes positions only after deliberation and consensus from local Leagues across the state.

Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky: a Report of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky, January 2013 and the October 2006 report are available from the League at lwvky.org/about/publications/ .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: