As Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, prepares to leave office, he is attempting to leave his mark on an issue that has made his state an outlier.
On Tuesday, he issued an executive order that put in place an automatic process to restore voting rights to nonviolent, ex-felons once they have completed their sentence — a move that might allow 170,000 more Kentuckians the right to register to vote. Kentucky is one of four states — along with Iowa, Florida and Virginia – in which people with felony convictions are permanently disenfranchised in their state constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . Last year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe took a similar action to the one taken Tuesday by Beshear.