LEXINGTON, Ky. — Advocacy Based on Lived Experience (ABLE) held several pre-election gatherings across the state on Saturday to give community members the opportunity to mingle with each other and engage with elected officials.

ABLE is an organization that advocates for the restoration of voting rights for people with a felony.

What You Need To Know

  • Several pre-election community gatherings were held in different cities in Kentucky. The events were hosted by ABLE 

  •  ABLE is advocating for an amendment to the Kentucky constitution, which has a section that permanently bans people with felonies from voting after any felony conviction

  •  In 2019, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order that restored voting rights for many Kentuckians

  • There are over 160,000 people who remain disenfranchised in Kentucky

Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., signed an executive order in 2019 that restored voting rights for Kentuckians convicted of non-violent felonies. However, there are still over 160,000 people who remain disenfranchised, according to ABLE.

“I think everyone should have the right to vote,” said Kenneth Williamson, who had his voting rights restored from the executive order and is now in ABLE’s executive committee. “It’s a right. You know, it’s just not a privilege, it is a right.”

The organization is advocating for an amendment to the Kentucky constitution, which has a section that codified lifetime disenfranchisement for people convicted of a felony.

“We are looking to get people like me engaged in a civic and democratic process so that we can learn to speak with our own voices, be our authentic selves, and advocate for ourselves on issues that are important to us and impact us, especially the issue of voting rights,” said Tip Moody with ABLE, who organized the Lexington community gathering.

Councilwoman Jennifer Reynolds attended that gathering to engage with members of the community and show her support of ABLE’s mission.

“I think that anybody that has served their time deserves to vote,” said Reynolds. “Their voice, their opinions matter and they add to the wealth of different opinions that we have in our city, our state, in our country.”

There is another community gathering taking place at the Nicholasville Town Center in Nicholasville on Nov. 6 from 5-7 p.m.