He hasn’t even been in office a month and newly elected Republican Kentucky governor Matt Bevin is already showing his ass. Bevin snatched away the voting rights of some 140,000 former felons, Tuesday, after reversing his Democratic predecessor Steve Beshear’s decision to grant them, except to those convicted for bribery, treason, violent or sexual crimes.
Considering the racial percentages of those incarcerated under our corrupt “justice” system in every state across the nation, it should come as no surprise to readers that Bevin’s move to reverse Beshear’s affects African Americans and the poor the most.
The former felons losing their voting rights have already payed their debt to society, too, which is certainly all that should be expected under a system that increasingly incarcerates peaceful citizens for smaller and smaller infractions. A felony for marijuana, for example, should not result in a permanent loss of one’s voting rights.
Furthermore, Bevin promised throughout his campaign that he would leave the voting rights of the previously disenfranchised as Beshear had left them. The forked-tongue governor even went so far as to tell reporters only last month that he’d take a stand against his own party to convince them of what he believed was the right thing to do. Thanks to Bevin, not only will approximately 140,000 former felons remain disenfranchised, they won’t be able to run for office, serve on a jury, or even get themselves a vocational license, either.
Bevin’s explanation for the blatant flip-flop?
“It is an issue that must be addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people,” he said.
Kentucky is part of a small group of states that requires former felons petition the governor individually in order to seek restoration of their civil rights. Often, that tedious process can be plagued with bureaucratic, red-taped hoops that leave citizens feeling filled with shame and humiliation. Consequently, an appalling 20 percent of African Americans in Kentucky are disenfranchised. According to a 2008 study, ex-felons who are able to vote upon release feel a closer bond with their communities which helps cut down on recidivism, so what gives?
Two more recent decisions made by Bevin resembling the back end of a hospital nightgown include another reversal of his predecessor’s raising minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and removing county clerks’ names from marriage licenses in order to appease the notorious Kim Davis and company. Bevin lowered minimum wage back down to a dismal $7.25 an hour and even suggested he’d prefer no minimum wage whatsoever, stating, “Wage rates ideally would be established by the demands of the labor market instead of being set by the government.”
Chris Hartman of the Fairness Campaign said of Bevin’s move to remove county clerks’ names from marriage licenses, “It’s a clear signal to Kim Davis and her camp that if you object to doing portions of your job – even if you’re an elected official – the executive branch will give you an out.”
Fewer than a third of Kentucky’s registered voters voted in the election that won Bevin his office. An additional 140,000 votes could have altered that election’s outcome without question.
Featured image by Matt Bevin courtesy of Facebook.