Locals Weigh in On Giving Felons Voting Rights Back

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Getting a privilege or a right back is something that's always difficult to do, especially if you've been convicted of a felony.

The Kentucky state legislature is taking steps to help change that by giving some felons the right to vote back.

Simpson County Jailer Eric Vaughn said part of his work is to help inmates adjust back to society.

"In doing that part of our job is to make sure that they are ready to work side by side and be a part of our communities," said Vaughn.

Criminal attorney Dennie Hardin supports the idea of letting some felons vote.

"A lot of those people have served their time whether it's incarceration or being on probation or parole, have gone out and lived a productive life, but then they find themselves disenfranchised unless they get their civil rights restored," said Hardin.

"If you keep them down, they're more likely to commit another crime. If they have a sense of self worth that may be enough to encourage them to go ahead and do the right thing and be productive in our communities," said Vaughn.

There is a bill working its way through the General Assembly and has bipartisan support.

Hardin said life drastically changes after becoming a convicted felon.

"When a person is convicted of a felony, some of the collateral consequences they will soon discover is it adversely affects your ability to get employment," said Hardin.

The proposal in the state legislature would exclude people convicted of intentional murder, rape, sodomy or sex offenses with a minor.

Now, it will be up to an already busy general assembly to decide on the matter.

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