Supposedly, once a convicted felon has completely served out his term – or completed all the terms of probation or parole – he's paid his debt in full and is not only free, but encouraged to rejoin society as a gainfully employed, tax-paying citizen
Note that I said "tax-paying."
That's the main reason I have for questioning Kentucky's current policy of denying voting rights to felons who've completed all the requirements of their sentences.
Right now, Kentucky is one of only four states that still permanently ban all felons from the polls -- unless they're pardoned by the Governor.
It's been estimated that if the law were changed to allow former felons to vote, over 160,000 Kentucky citizens would be affected. That's a lot of people to be disenfranchised in a state with a population of 4.3 million – especially when we want them to re-integrate themselves into their communities as responsible, contributing members.
Kentucky needs more involved citizens -- not fewer. And while a permanent voting ban can be justified in the case of particularly heinous crimes, for the majority of ex-convicts it seems a case of making them pay the dues without enjoying any membership benefits.
I'd like to see Kentucky join a 47-state majority on this issue instead of remaining in a four-state minority.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.