In Kentucky, people who were convicted of a felony lost certain rights, such as the right to vote. The outgoing governor recently signed an executive order that restores some of these rights to certain convicted felons.
Kentucky was one of only four states that did not automatically reinstate the voting rights of convicted felons once they completed their sentences. Although Kentucky did restore voting rights to certain non-violent felons, they needed to first apply to the governor’s office. The office approved applications on a case-by-case basis.
The governor’s executive order changed this process. Under the new order, convicted felons who meet specific criteria have their right to vote and right to hold public office automatically restored upon their release. They no longer need to apply. Felons who have already been released from prison can fill out an online form to restore these rights.
The executive order does not apply to all convicted felons. Specifically, it does not apply to anyone who was convicted of a sex crime, a violent crime, bribery, or treason. It also does not apply to people who were released from prison but have not yet paid their restitution.
Although the executive order reinstates some rights to convicted felons, other rights will not be restored. These rights include the right to serve on a jury and possess a firearm. Additionally, it is important to note that the newly elected governor, who takes office next month, could repeal the executive order.
If you have been charged with a felony crime, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A felony conviction is very serious. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you decide what steps to take to protect your rights.
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader, “Outgoing Kentucky governor restores voting rights for thousands of felons,” Adam Beam, Nov. 24, 2015