One woman's fight for the right to vote (video)
Tayna Fogle is a former University of Kentucky basketball team captain whose crack cocaine addiction led to a 10-year prison sentence.
After serving her time, Fogle was shocked to discover that as a convicted felon she could not vote in Kentucky. Under the state's felon disenfranchisement laws, some 243,000 people have permanently lost their voting rights -- including one in five African Americans. In all, 11 states have laws disenfranchising ex-felons even after they have completed their sentences, according to a report released earlier this year by the Sentencing Project. They are Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming.
Nationally, an estimated 5.85 million Americans are denied the right to vote by felon disenfranchisement laws -- including 1 of every 13 African Americans of voting age, according to the Sentencing Project. In six states -- Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia -- such laws disenfranchise more than 7 percent of the adult population. And in three states -- Florida, Kentucky and Virginia -- those laws permanently take away voting rights from more than 20 percent of the African-American population.
Fogle learned what it took to navigate Kentucky's legal maze and regain voting rights. And now she's working as an organizer with the grassroots group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to help others restore their rights.
"If individuals are given the right to vote back, then they will take a stake in their community instead of taking away from their community. That would help then stay out of jails and prisons," Fogle says. "That's a win-win situation."
In this video titled "The Power of Voice" from the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Fogle tells her hopeful story.
(Image of Fogle is a still from the video.)
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