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After fight to get voting rights back, Louisville man votes for candidate who helped make it happen

For Savvy Shabazz, casting his vote for the first time in 20 years was a short walk that ended a long journey.
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 1:40 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The right to vote and who has it still at the center for change in 2022. A Louisville man has made a pit stop on his long battle to regain his right to vote. Thursday, Savvy Shabazz voted for the first time in 20 years.

A short walk for a long journey.

“You can’t put a price on it,” Shabazz said. “We fought for three years fighting to get people to the polls.”

Savvy Shabazz, a convicted felon who has been granted parole, was able to cast a vote in the...
Savvy Shabazz, a convicted felon who has been granted parole, was able to cast a vote in the Kentucky House District 42 special election after having his voting rights restored.(Source: Michael Flynn, WAVE News)

Shabazz spent years registering people to vote, all while his right to vote was stripped away. While living on parole for five drug-related felonies, Shabazz requested a pardon from Gov. Andy Beshear. In 2020, he walked through Frankfort with a folder of references, awards and transcripts.

“Without the pardon I would have had to wait until 2026 to complete my sentence,” Shabazz said. “And an additional five years, 2031, to get here.”

As he cast his vote for the first time, Shabazz voted with and for the woman and friend who helped him get his rights back, Kenturah Herron.

Kenturah Herron, a Democratic candidate for the House District 42 seat, helped Savvy Shabazz...
Kenturah Herron, a Democratic candidate for the House District 42 seat, helped Savvy Shabazz regain his voting rights after being granted parole.(Source: Michael Flynn, WAVE News)

“You can send me to Frankfort but I’m going to need everybody’s help,” Herron said.

Herron is running as a Democratic candidate against Republican Judy Martin Stallard for the House District 42 seat.

Herron was instrumental in changes with no-knock warrants in Louisville and across the state. If elected, Herron will become the first openly LGBTQ representative in the Kentucky House. Herron hopes to add a reduction in gun violence, suicide and domestic violence to her list. She also wants to continue her steps on the journey she started with Shabazz and improve voting rights restoration to people also ready to turn the next page in their book.

“Shows people what it means when you do the work,” Herron said.

Now his voice can count at the polls while he’s encouraging other than theirs can too.

“It’s not a privilege it’s a right,” Shabazz said. “I’m an example.”

Kentucky and Iowa are the only states that still deny the right to vote to anyone convicted of a felony.

Early voting for the House District 42 seat runs through Saturday. Election Day is Tuesday, February 22. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram...
WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)