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Convicted felons fight for right to vote

By: Brittany Pelletz Email
By: Brittany Pelletz Email

They've served their time and now want their voices heard at the polls. Right now, anyone convicted of a felony in Kentucky loses their right to vote for the rest of their lives. Most states restore that right at some point. A Lexington lawmaker is now proposing that Kentucky make some changes to the current law.

More than 180,000 people in Kentucky are forbidden from going to the polls because of past criminal offenses. April Browning is one of them, after getting caught up in drugs,"I got five years on the shelf and got 15 months."

But after serving her time, Browning says she has changed and believes that Kentucky law should also change to allow her the right to vote again,"We fought very hard, you know in our history, as women for that, I think it's important."

Representative Jesse Crenshaw, here in Lexington is proposing an amendment to House Bill 70, that would allow voters to once again decide if non-violent offenders with time-served should be entitled to voting rights.

"What changed is that I started to view myself differently in society. I started to change the way I think of myself. I felt I could become a positive force and do something positive ad opposed to being a negative force," adds Browning.

While Browning isn't able to exercise her right to vote right now, she is not letting that stop her from making her voice heard, "That's why I'm involved with "Occupy Lexington" and other movements in hopes of bettering society."

If approved, this amendment would still exclude former felons with violent crimes on their record.

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