INSTITUTE INDEX: A historic victory for voting rights and racial justice in Kentucky

Member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a grassroots group that worked to reform the state's harsh felon disenfranchisement policy, celebrate Gov. Steve Beshear's signing of an executive order to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of the state's residents, many of them African-American. (Image is a still from this KFTC video.)

Date on which Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D), in one of his last acts in office, signed an executive order to automatically restore voting rights to certain felons who've completed their sentences: 11/24/2015

Number of Kentuckians with past convictions for nonviolent crimes who will have their right to vote restored by Beshear's action: 170,000

Of those, number who will be immediately eligible for restored voting rights, with the rest eligible over time: 140,000

Factor by which Kentucky's felon disenfranchisement rate exceeds the national average: nearly 3

Portion of Kentucky residents overall who've lost the right to vote under the felon disenfranchisement provision of the state constitution: 1 in 17

Portion of Kentucky's African-American residents who lost their voting rights under the provision: 1 in 4

Among all of the states, rank of Kentucky's rate of disenfranchising African Americans: 1

Year in which the Kentucky legislature's effort to address felon disenfranchisement stalled: 2014

In the wake of Beshear's executive order, number of remaining states that completely bar people with past felony convictions from ever voting: 2*

Year in which Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) of Virginia, another state with stringent felon voting restrictions, took action to automatically re-enfranchise some former felons: 2013

Year in which McDonnell's successor, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), continued the re-enfranchisement effort: 2014

In Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, percent of all African-American citizens prohibited from voting due to past felony convictions: over 20

Rank of the South among U.S. regions with the most African-American citizens barred from voting due to felon disenfranchisement laws: 1

* Florida and Iowa

(Click on figure to go to source.)