This week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order restoring voting rights to people who have been convicted of past felonies. This policy is expected to affect over 100,000 people in the state of Kentucky, and mirrors similar efforts taken in states like Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, and Nevada.
According to a December 2019 report from the Scholars Strategy Network, the impact of felony disenfranchisement is hardest for African Americans: one in 13 African Americans of voting age is disenfranchised – a rate over four times greater than that of other Americans. Public opinion generally favors restoring the right to vote. If every state abolished felony disenfranchisement for people who have completed their sentences, around 4.7 million citizens would regain access to the ballot box.