Tayna Fogle of Kentucky is helping other ex-felons regain their voting rights.
Tayna Fogle of Kentucky is helping other ex-felons regain their voting rights.

One woman's fight for the right to vote (video)

Tayna Fogle of Kentucky is helping other ex-felons regain their voting rights.
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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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Comments

Re-Enfranchisement Should Not Be Automatic

If you aren’t willing to follow the law yourself, then you can’t demand a role in making the law for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote can be restored to felons, but it should be done carefully, on a case-by-case basis after a person has shown that he or she has really turned over a new leaf, not automatically on the day someone walks out of prison. After all, the unfortunate truth is that most people who walk out of prison will be walking back in. Read more about this issue on our website here [ http://www.ceousa.org/voting/voting-news/felon-voting/538-answering-the-... ] and our congressional testimony here: [ http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/Clegg100316.pdf ].

The New Jim Crow

You obviously have no earthly clue what you are talking about. Where are the studies on your website of recidivism rates being lowered by people who are a part of the democratic process? Your model is one of retribution, where you get to dole out who or whom is deserving of your benevolence. Fortunately, that is not what the constitution states. Once someone has paid their debt, they deserve the right to vote. Especially if they are paying taxes. That is called "taxation without representation" and I am pretty sure we have fought against that one before.
Only 4 states permanently disenfranchise former felons. It is a racist and classist practice designed to keep "those people" from what is "our right". Absolutely disgusting.

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