Weeks before he leaves office, the governor of Kentucky on Tuesday issued an executive order that will immediately grant the right to vote to about 140,000 nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences.
The order by Gov. Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, was cheered by advocates for criminal justice reform and civil rights, who said it would place Kentucky’s policy more in line with others across the nation and was consistent with a trend toward easing voting restrictions on former inmates.
Kentucky had been one of just three states imposing a lifetime voting ban on felons unless they received a special exemption from the governor. Florida and Iowa still carry the lifetime ban.
“Once an individual has served his or her time and paid all restitution, society expects them to reintegrate into their communities and become law-abiding and productive citizens,” Mr. Beshear said at a news conference. “A key part of that transition is the right to vote.”
If it’s such a smart move — and I’m agnostic on the issue — then why didn’t Beshear take action before the election, and help fellow Democrat gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway beat Matt Bevin a few weeks ago?