Three days into his term, Beshear has already signed two executive orders.
(Frankfort, Ky.) – Newly-elected Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has signed another executive order.
On his third day in office, Beshear signed a civil rights restoration executive order giving 140,000 non-violent felons eligibility to vote.
“My faith teaches me to treat others with dignity and respect. My faith also teaches forgiveness and that is why I am restoring voting rights to over one hundred forty thousand Kentuckians who have done wrong in the past, but are doing right now,” said Beshear. “I want to lift up all of our families and I believe we have a moral responsibility to protect and expand the right to vote.”
The specific crimes excluded from the restoration executive order include treason; bribery in an election; and violent offenses, including all rapes and sexual abuses, homicide, fetal homicide, first and second-degree assault and assault under extreme emotional disturbance. A complete list of excluded offenses is provided in the executive order.
Before Gov. Beshear’s action, Kentucky was just one of two states in the nation that imposed a lifetime ban on voting for all people with felony convictions. Beshear said it is wrong that Kentucky has the third highest voter disenfranchisement rate in the country and that nearly one in 10 Kentuckians, and nearly one in four African-Americans, are not allowed to vote.
The order also does not apply to federal convictions or convictions from other jurisdictions, or to those who have pending criminal charges or arrests. The order is not a full pardon – the conviction will remain.
In other news, Beshear signed an executive order earlier this week that would disband and recreate the Kentucky Board of Education.