Convicted felons fighting for right to vote in Kentucky - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Convicted felons fighting for right to vote in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- They've served the time, but in Kentucky, they're forever punished. Now, convicted felons are fighting to get their voting rights restored.

In America it is your fundamental right -- but for a quarter of a million Kentuckians, that right has been taken away, and supporters say it's time for Kentucky's old law to change.

Backers of House Bill 70 want to change the state's constitution which permanently bans a person convicted of a felony from ever voting again in the state. The bill aims to restore a felon's right to vote once their prison sentence is served and parole completed.

Mike Hiser has never voted. He served four years in prison for drug charges, but now he's a teacher, is working on a masters degree and holds a full-time job.

"I want to contribute, but I can't," he said. "And that's what we're saying. Yeah, we made bad decisions, but there's a lot of politicians that have made bad decisions."

Right now, Kentucky felons can only have their voting rights back if they are granted a pardon from the governor -- and the bill would still ban certain felons from ever voting if they have committed murder or sex crimes with minors. The bill just passed a House committee, but it has to pass the full House and the full Senate before it could be put on the ballot, and that's when voters would decide this voting rights issue.

Copyright 2014 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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