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Voter Outreach in Overdrive as Registration Deadline Looms in Kentucky

September 27, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The clock is ticking on Kentuckians who have yet to register to vote, and the group "Kentuckians for the Commonwealth" is reaching out to eligible voters to ensure they're part of the process.

Janet Tucker has worked with KFTC's voter registration program since its inception in 2003. She's been helping sign up people for months, and says the real push happens between now and the Oct. 9 voter-registration deadline.

"We've gone door-to-door in a number of communities, various businesses. We have gone to events, different festivals in the area."

Emily Furnish, a University of Kentucky junior, works with KFTC. She and others have managed to register 500 voters. Furnish tries to explain to people that even if they're not keenly interested in politics, politics has a connection to issues they may be interested in.

"Talk to them about issues like mountaintop removal or economic justice. If they're entitled to vote, then they can vote for those issues. It's always connected, and that's what I think I've learned."

Furnish and Tucker are disheartened that Kentucky is one of only four states in the nation that don't allow people convicted of felonies to vote. Tucker says others who can vote don't think they can make a difference.

"It's something that they have learned to feel throughout their lives, that there's no way to have an impact on the political system. We try to tell people that we can change that."

Tucker says they target people who may not be as well represented in the process as they should be: Low-income residents, people of color and students. As part of the final push, some KFTC chapters have an around-the-clock voter registration drive scheduled for the final weekend before the deadline.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - KY