From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

African American Felony/Voter Disenfranchisement

Section 145 of the Kentucky Constitution, bars a person with a felony conviction from voting for the rest of the individual's life whether the full sentence has been completed or not. In reference to African Americans, Kentucky has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the nation.

A request to have voting rights restored begins with the individual submitting an application to the Kentucky Governor requesting an executive pardon to allow reinstatement of voting rights. It is the Governor's decision as to whether the voting rights are restored or not.

For more see J. Shugarts, "Felons' disenfranchisement mostly a matter of geography," Republican-American, 1/25/2009," Local News section, p. 1A; "African Americans and the Criminal Justice System," pp. 20-21  in The State of African Americans in Kentucky (February 2009), by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights [available online as a .pdf]; and Felony Disenfranchisement in the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Feb. 2017), a report of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky [available online as a .pdf]. See also Determinants of College Students' Opinions Towards Felon Voting Rights: an exploratory study (dissertation), by B. C. Dawson Edwards.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Felony/Voter Disenfranchisement,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 27, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-03-18 16:41:46