KFTC Voting Rights UpdateMay 21, 2021
By Dave Newton, Organizing Co-Director
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
The Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition together has accomplished a lot in these last few months:
– Virtual Lobby Day for a Healthy Democracy with over 70 participants (legislative meetings, a lobby training, social media training, letter to the editor training, spokesperson training, generated tons of calls to the legislative message line and good outreach through social media, and had a fantastic virtual rally with powerful stories in the afternoon). Thanks especially to Pastor E, Shelton McElroy, Bonifacio Aleman, Savvy Shabazz, Dee Pregilsco, and Debbie Graner for leading the virtual rally.
– The Kentucky Council of Churches led a strong Virtual Prayer and Action Day about Voting Rights
– Multiple phone banks and text banks to reach people on this issue and connect them with the legislative message line
– Strong virtual lobby trainings and issue trainings
HB 232, our bill to restore voting rights to people with felonies in their past, was sponsored by Republican Jason Nemes and we recruited 17 co-sponsors including another 4 Republicans and 13 Democrats. And yet our bill wasn’t even assigned to a committee by members of House Leadership.According to our data match, of the 190,000 people with felonies in their past who got their right to vote back a year ago, 14,255 are currently registered and 6,653 people of those voted. The numbers are likely a little higher than that, but this is as close as we can get with the data we have. We have the opportunity to do a lot better this year, as Covid becomes less of a threat.
Since the General Assembly, we’re dived into field work, setting up voter registration tables and training, and circulating the voting rights petition.
We just had a strong Voting Rights Coalition call where we broke up into teams to schedule next steps related to field work, training, texting, and lobbying.
If you’d like to join one of these teams, let Dave Newton know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can invite you to upcoming meetings.
– Louisville Field Work
– Lexington Field Work
– Texting Campaign
– Interviewing/ Storytelling
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ABOUT KENTUCKIANS FOR THE COMMONWEALTH
KFTC is a grassroots organization of thousands of members across Kentucky. We have local chapters and at-large members in many counties. We use a set of core strategies, from leadership development to communications and voter empowerment, to impact a broad range of issues, including coal and water, new energy and transition, economic justice and voting rights.
Their members are:
- Folks from cities, rural areas and small towns
- Workers, unemployed and retired
- People of all income levels
- Families and single people
- Teachers, farmers, miners, nurses, social workers …
- Young and old
For more information, please visit the KFTC web site at https://kftc.org/.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Newton has been an active member of KFTC since 1999, is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with degrees in History and Political Science and has experience organizing with the Kentucky Democratic Party, internal and external union organizing with SEIU in California, has worked as a consultant, and most recently was Deputy Director of Media Justice in Oakland, CA. He now lives in Covington, KY after coming back to us after 5 years out of state. He’s also a giant nerd who loves sci-fi and cats.
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