Kentucky Senator Rand Paul falsely claims presidential election was ‘stolen’ | Morgan Watkins/Louisville Courier Journal

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul continues to falsely claim — without proof — voter fraud played a role in the election of President-elect Joe Biden. The Kentucky Republican said during a Wednesday congressional hearing the election “in many ways was stolen.” Paul made that baseless comment during a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held in Washington, D.C., two days after the Electoral College met nationwide and formally awarded Biden 306 electoral votes versus Trump’s 232 electoral votes, based on the certified November election results. The Electoral College’s vote Monday affirmed Biden’s victory. In light of that, Kentucky’s other Republican senator, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, finally acknowledged Biden as the president-elect on Tuesday. “The Electoral College has spoken,” he said that morning. But Paul, who has represented Kentucky in Congress since 2011, still refuses to recognize Biden’s defeat of President Donald Trump. Similarly, Trump himself continues to falsely claim, without evidence, the election was compromised by voter fraud. He has lost numerous legal challenges over the election results in court over the past several weeks.

Full Article: Sen. Rand Paul falsely claims presidential election was ‘stolen’

Kentucky Weighs Changing System After Election Success | David Guiildford/Spectrum

During a pandemic, Kentucky facilitated record voter turnout — implementing methods foreign to the largely conservative state like excuse-free absentee voting and three weeks of open polls. Adams, the Commonwealth’s Republican secretary of state, ruffled feathers among some in his party when he used legislatively gifted emergency executive powers to work with Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, on the plan for 2020’s June primary and November General Election. As Adams begins to make plans for the future, what changes, if any, might he suggest to lawmakers for permanent change? “I certainly think that four things are strong in their ability to pass [through the legislature],” he said during a sit-down interview in his capitol office. “Early voting, for at least a few days, I don’t think we need three weeks of voting in every election, but a few days would really help working people get to the polls.” The other three changes under Adams’ consideration are keeping voting centers, or “hubs,” within counties that offer each ballot type regardless of precinct; maintaining the online portal for voters to use for assistance and Adams to use to monitor needs and activity; and the process of curing ballots. Curing involves flagging absentee ballots that are submitted with errors, often in good faith, and contacting the voters-in-question to resolve the issues. With few people voting by mail in Kentucky before 2020, Adams said there was no curing procedure in place. Under the first year of its use, fewer than 1% of the 626,000 absentee ballots submitted statewide had to be discarded.

Full Article: After Election Success, Kentucky Weighs Changing System

Kentucky secretary of state suggests making early voting permanent and other election ideas | Jack Brammer/Lexington Herald Leader

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams suggested several changes Wednesday to how the state conducts elections, including permanent provisions for early voting and an online portal to request an absentee ballot. Adams, the state’s top elections official, made his comments in a speech to the 46th annual Kentucky Association of Counties Conference, which was held virtually. Adams, a Republican, and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear made changes this year to the state’s primary election in June and the Nov. 3 general due to the coronavirus pandemic that is still raging.“With the election not yet concluded, it’s too soon to decide what reforms we ought to make permanent; but it’s not soon to start a conversation about how to improve our election system,” said Adams in his KACo speech.Kentucky should consider keeping early voting, he said.

Full Article: Kentucky elections chief suggests election changes | Lexington Herald Leader

Kentucky: Kentuckians sue to keep primary election’s absentee voting option in place for fall | Morgan Watkins/Louisville Courier Journal

Four Kentuckians are suing in an attempt to secure a court ruling requiring the absentee voting process Kentucky implemented for the June primary to be used in this fall’s general election, too. The new lawsuit also asks for a court order prohibiting the enforcement of Senate Bill 2 while Gov. Andy Beshear’s open-ended COVID-19 state of emergency remains in effect. The controversial bill, approved this year by the state legislature, requires voters to show photo identification to cast a ballot. Margaret Sterne, 65, and Helen LeMaster, 84, of Calloway County, as well as Fred Mozenter, 72, and Debra Graner, 69, of Franklin County, are plaintiffs in the case. The lawsuit says they all have health conditions that put them at risk of becoming severely ill from the coronavirus if they catch it.

Kentucky: Coronavirus threatened to make a mess of Kentucky’s primary. It could be a model instead. | Zach Montellaro/Politico

Coronavirus has upended elections around the country since the pandemic landed in America, and last month, it was feared Kentucky would be the next disaster. National figures from Hillary Clinton to LeBron James warned of impending calamity in the state, focusing on a dramatic decrease in polling places, especially in Louisville. But after the votes came in, Kentucky earned measured praise from voting rights advocates for how it largely sidestepped the missing ballots, long lines and other problems faced by many states amid coronavirus. The Democratic governor and Republican secretary of state reached bipartisan agreement on a massive expansion of absentee voting, leading to the highest primary turnout in Kentucky since the hard-fought 2008 presidential primary. Now, voting rights experts say other states should be reaching out to Kentucky for advice, as a potential blueprint for scaling up pandemic-safe voting for the November elections. “I think Kentucky could be a model for states that have not done a lot of absentee voting prior, or they’ve had excuse absentee, in terms of scalability,” said Amber McReynolds, chief executive officer of the National Vote At Home Institute and a former elections director in Denver, Colo., when the state instituted one of the broadest vote-by-mail programs in the country. Just over 1 million Kentuckians voted in the primary despite the pandemic, the highest primary turnout in the state in 12 years. Roughly 75 percent of the votes were cast via absentee ballot, said Secretary of State Michael Adams. Kentucky’s size means the changes they made won’t be as easy to scale in some states, especially in a general election scenario, but the primary also went much better than other states’ so far this year.

Kentucky: ‘A substantial challenge’: What Kentucky, New York tell us about voting in a pandemic come November | Joey Garrison/USA Today

NBA star Lebron James slammed Kentucky’s plan to cut voting sites from 3,700 to 200 “systemic racism and oppression.” Stacey Abrams called it “voter suppression.” So did Hillary Clinton, declaring it’s time to restore the Voting Rights Act. But the dire forecasts ahead of Kentucky’s state primary Tuesday – warnings of severely long lines and disaster certain to come – didn’t materialize. In fact, some critics quickly changed their tune after recognizing that Kentucky sacrificed in-person voting sites for a robust vote-by-mail program that allowed anyone to vote absentee from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a sharp reversal from her message the day before, Clinton tweeted “kudos” Tuesday night to Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear for making it “easy for every (Kentuckian) to vote” through no-excuse mail-in voting and early voting. An estimated 1.1 million Kentuckians voted in the primary – a record for a Kentucky primary – including 75% through mail-in ballots in a state where typically only 2% vote absentee. Kentucky is now getting widely lauded for its election performance. Still, vote-by-mail advocates aren’t ready to crown the Bluegrass State the perfect model for voting in a pandemic during the November general election.

Kentucky: Lexington candidate had to convince election officials dogs ate her primary ballot |Associated Press

A Kentucky woman was allowed to vote after convincing the board of elections that her dogs ate her and her husband’s absentee ballots. Christine Stanley, a 34-year-old Lexington health care attorney, voted in the Democratic primary at Kroger Field but only after getting out of line and going before the board of elections. After showing the board evidence, including “lots of bite marks, drool and dirt,” she and her husband were allowed to vote, and Stanley said she voted for herself for the Urban County Council seat she is seeking, for Charles Booker in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and for Democrat Josh Hicks to run against Republican Rep. Andy Barr. Stanley, who is Black, said race didn’t really play a part in her choice of Booker.

Kentucky: Despite poll worker crunch, Kentucky voters poised to break turnout records as they embrace mail ballots | Amy Gardner, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Elise Viebeck/The Washington Post

Voters in Kentucky were on track to cast ballots in record numbers for Tuesday’s primary despite the risk of coronavirus infection and shortages of poll workers, thanks in part to the widespread embrace of voting by mail. Michael G. Adams, Kentucky’s Republican secretary of state, projected that total turnout would exceed 1 million, including roughly 800,000 mailed ballots. The final figure would shatter the previous record of 922,456 primary voters set in 2008. Poll worker cancellations had forced election officials to staff fewer than 200 polling locations instead of the usual 3,700, but Adams said an avalanche of mail-in balloting and in-person early voting helped lessen demand on the polls Tuesday. The numbers reflected an overwhelming shift to absentee voting by Kentucky voters, even as President Trump has railed against mail ballots and claimed without evidence they lead to massive fraud. As of mid-afternoon, about 570,000 absentee ballots had been received by election offices in the state, in addition to the 100,000 ballots cast at early voting locations. At least 156,000 people voted in person on Election Day. Primaries were also held Tuesday in Virginia, as well as New York, where there were scattered reports of delays in opening polling sites, voters receiving incomplete ballot packages and long lines that stretched into the night.

Kentucky: State votes amid COVID-19, suppression claims as late voters are allowed into polling site | Phillip M. Bailey and Joe Sonka/Louisville Courier Journal

Kentuckians streamed into polling places across the state on Tuesday during a historic primary election that withstood a global pandemic and outside worries of voter suppression. When polls opened at 6 a.m., a line had formed at the lone voting location in Jefferson County — the cavernous Kentucky Exposition Center at the state fairgrounds. Those who showed up throughout the day described their experience as quick and easy, with most saying the traffic entering and leaving the parking lot was the most difficult task. Conflict erupted, though, when the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office closed the doors at 6:03 p.m., just after the announced time for voting to cease throughout the state, leaving a crowd of about 50 people outside. About a dozen voters pounded on the glass doors and shouted, “Let us in!” The campaign of state Rep. Charles Booker, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, sought an injunction to allow the polling place to stay open until 9 p.m., according to a tweet from campaign manager Colin Lauderdale.

Kentucky: While national voices claim ‘voter suppression,’ Kentucky on pace for record voter turnout | Phillip M. Bailey and Joe Sonka/Louisville Courier Journal

While national Democrats, athletes and celebrities are saying Kentucky’s rescheduled primary is an attempt at voter suppression, the Bluegrass State is on its way to a possible record turnout in Tuesday’s primary election. Kentucky received high marks months ago when Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams agreed to allow registered voters to mail in absentee ballots to avoid in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the plan, Kentuckians have also been allowed to vote in-person since June 15, a week ahead of the new primary date. “If the governor and I are both suppressors, we’re doing a terrible job because we’ve got the highest turnout we’ve ever seen — and that’s the bottom line,” Adams told The Courier Journal on Monday. Critics of Kentucky’s plan have ranged in the past few days from NBA star LeBron James to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Kentucky: State braces for possible voting problems in Tuesday’s primary amid signs of high turnout | Michelle Ye Hee Lee /The Washington Post

Fewer than 200 polling places will be open for voters in Kentucky’s primary Tuesday, down from 3,700 in a typical election year. Amid a huge influx in requests for mail-in ballots, some voters still had not received theirs days before they must be turned in. And turnout is expected to be higher than in past primaries because of a suddenly competitive fight for the Democratic Senate nomination. The scenario has voting rights advocates and some local elections officials worried that the state is careening toward a messy day marked by long lines and frustrated voters — similar to the scenes that have played out repeatedly this spring as the novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the 2020 primaries. Because of a shortage of workers willing to staff voting sites during the health crisis, each of the commonwealth’s 120 counties is opening a very limited number of polling locations. The two largest counties will have just one in-person location each. On Thursday evening, a federal judge rejected an effort to add polling places in the state’s largest counties, citing a legal standard discouraging last-minute court intervention in election procedures. That means Jefferson County — the state’s largest, home to 767,000 residents and the city of Louisville — will have as its sole polling location a convention and expo center where voting booths have been set up about eight feet apart in a cavernous hall. About 1 in 5 residents in the county is African American, the largest black population in the state.

Kentucky: Election officials scramble to conduct mail-in primary | Daniel Desrochers/Lexington Herald Leader

Kentucky’s primary election is on June 23. Sort of. By then, though, almost everyone will have already cast their vote. Some people have already started voting by absentee ballot, and those will become widely available in coming days. Every county in the state is supposed to offer in-person voting by appointment only starting June 8. The last day to mail in your ballot is June 23. The last day for county election officials to transmit vote totals to the Secretary of State’s office is June 30th. Welcome to voting in the middle of a global pandemic. “A regular election is super hard,” said Gabrielle Summe, the Kentucky County Clerk. “There’s a lot of moving pieces, there’s a lot of logistics. This election, no one really knows what to expect.” This April, as COVID-19 spread through the state, Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams came to an agreement: they would let Kentuckians vote by mail. The reasons were simple: the coronavirus spreads easily in large crowds and most poll workers are older than 65, making them particularly vulnerable to deadly complications from the virus.

Kentucky: State board working through election complications | Tom Latek/State Journal

The State Board of Elections met Tuesday to continue preparations for what is likely to be the most unusual election in Kentucky history due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chairman Ben Chandler repeated their goal is to have as many people as possible vote by absentee mail-in ballot for the primary election, which was delayed from May 26 to June 23.  “We’re having trouble getting poll workers, which shouldn’t surprise anybody, and we want to make sure that not only the poll workers who are necessary but the administrative staff at the county clerk offices and the voting public are safe,” he said. Chandler also acknowledged the county clerks have to be able to accommodate those who vote in-person absentee, as well as those who want to vote on Election Day itself, so each of the 120 county clerks were to submit a plan to the state Board of Elections for approval. Executive Director Jared Dearing told the board members, “We are currently at around 90-plus counties with a little less than 30 more to come in. We are in contact with those counties who are still making their plans as we speak.”

Kentucky: Voters to get free postage for absentee ballots | The Herald Ledger

Kentuckians choosing to vote by absentee mail-in balloting in next month’s primary won’t have to pay for postage under a decision by state elections officials last week. The State Board of Elections (SBE) adopted the free postage at a special meeting conducted online, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The board also said county clerks will be able to hire temporary help to manage the election during the coronavirus pandemic. The board’s emergency regulations follow Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order last week that calls on all voters to use absentee voting by mail if they can in the June 23 primary election. But in-person voting will still be made available. Every eligible registered voter will receive a postcard with instructions on how to apply for an absentee ballot, which will be delivered by mail. A secure online portal for all voters to request the ballots is being created. All eligible voters who apply for an absentee ballot will qualify to receive one. “The SBE is working on the portal, but hasn’t given us a firm date as to when it will be ready,” said Lyon County Clerk Lori Duff. Once the ballot is completed, it can be mailed free of charge or can be dropped off at a secure county-government location.

Kentucky: Voters will get free postage for their absentee ballots | Jack Brammer/Lexington Herald Leader

Kentuckians who decide to use absentee voting by mail for the June 23 primary election will not have to pay for postage, and county clerks will be able to hire temporary help to manage the unsual election during the coronavirus pandemic. The State Board of Elections unanimously adopted the free postage and additional help for county clerks in a set of emergency regulations at a special meeting conducted online Friday morning. Gov. Andy Beshear, after working out a plan with Secretary of State Michael Adams to conduct the election, signed an executive order last week that calls on all voters to use absentee voting by mail if they can. State lawmakers last month made sure that Adams, a Republican, and Beshear, a Democrat, both have a say in how the election will be conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beshear had vetoed language that required he and Adams to agree on a plan, but the Republican-led legislature overrode his veto. Beshear’s order said the State Board of Elections will come up with emergency regulations to provide for expanded absentee voting by mail.

Kentucky: State to allow mail-in ballots for every registered voter in June 23 primary | Ben Tobin and Phillip M. Bailey/Louisville Courier Journal

Kentucky is allowing all registered voters to mail in their ballots for the state’s rescheduled primary election June 23 — a major bipartisan agreement designed to avoid in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed the executive order Friday after reaching an agreement with Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams. It comes weeks after a messy fight in Wisconsin that forced voters to go to the polls, leading to at least 19 of them testing positive for COVID-19. Beshear and Adams have been in talks for weeks about the best way for Kentuckians to exercise their right to vote amid the outbreak. “While there will be significant education and work required, we are committed to making sure this election will be held in a safe manner while we are in this worldwide health pandemic,” Beshear said in a statement.

Kentucky: Secretary of State Thanks General Assembly for Granting Flexibility in Election Procedures | Paul Hitchcock/WMKY

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael G. Adams today thanked state legislators of both parties for passing legislation that would grant the Governor, Secretary of State and State Board of Elections additional flexibility in the conduct of the 2020 primary election now set for June 23. Adams testified before a Senate committee, asking for legislation to empower a change to the “manner” of an election in case of a state of emergency. Current state law permits the Governor and Secretary of State to change the “time” or “place” but not “manner” of an election. Adams’ measure would free the State Board of Elections to develop a primary election procedure more open to absentee voting, which may be necessary if the current pandemic continues into the spring.

Kentucky: Bill Requiring Secure Voting Machines Advances, Without Funding | Ryland Barton/WFPL

As the Kentucky legislature continues to meet during the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers advanced a bill that would require counties to purchase more secure voting machines whenever they replace their old ones. The measure would provide no funding for counties to purchase the equipment, though Kentucky will soon get about $6.4 million in federal funding to boost election security. That’s a tiny fraction of the overall need, though—state election officials estimate Kentucky needs about $80 million to upgrade voting machines across the state. Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams told a legislative committee on Thursday morning that there are 29 counties that only use outdated voting machines that don’t create a paper backup. “It’s primarily rural counties that have equipment that’s functionally obsolete, or at least aging. Those will be the first places that we allocate the funds to,” Adams said. Electronic voting machines that create paper copies of individual ballots have become the industry standard in recent years amid worries about foreign actors being able to hack domestic elections.

Kentucky: Governor moves primary election date | Bruce Schreiner and Dylan Lovan/Associated Press

Kentucky’s governor has pushed back the May primary election and halted bar and restaurant in-person visits as he took aggressive steps to contain the new coronavirus. Gov. Andy Beshear also announced the state’s first death linked to the illness The 66-year-old Bourbon County man had other health conditions but his death was counted as a coronavirus fatality, Beshear said Monday. He offered his sympathy to the man’s family. “There were numerous factors that led to this point,” the governor said. “The coronavirus was only a factor. But what it means is that it’s very important that we all do our patriotic duty as we move forward to model the type of behavior that we need.” Beshear announced a postponement of the May primary election to June 23 after consulting with Secretary of State Michael Adams on Monday. Hall said that would give state officials time to prepare for an election if things aren’t yet back to normal.

Kentucky: Election Machinery Regularly Scanned by Foreign Hackers, Official Says | DH Kass/MSSP Alert

The state of Kentucky’s election systems are “routinely scanned” by foreign hackers, including North Korea, Russia and Venezuela, a senior election official told legislators in a state House budget subcommittee hearing. “This is not something that is in the past, that happened in 2016,” Jared Dearing, executive director of Kentucky’s Board of Elections told the subcommittee, according to the (Kentucky) Courier Journal. “It happens on a weekly basis.” A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official meets with the board every week to go over every scan against Kentucky’s system, he said. Cyber break-ins at the state election level are a growing concern for security defenders, with many states complaining rightfully that funding to fend off attacks is sorely lacking. “We’re asking county clerks with very, very limited resources, with not enough IT staff, to fully maintain their own systems,” Dearing said. “We’re asking them to participate in national security.” Late last year, some help arrived in the federal government’s fiscal 2020 budget agreement that includes $425 million in state election grants to improve cybersecurity. Increased awareness by state officials combined with supplemental financial support could present new opportunities for managed security service providers (MSSPs) and managed service providers (MSPs).

Kentucky: Despite Security Push, Kentucky Struggles To Update Voting Machines | Ryland Barton/WFPL

Despite worries from election security experts, Kentucky will be one of only a few states in 2020 that’s still using some voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail — an industry standard to verify election results. The reason is one that Kentuckians have heard often: there isn’t enough money, especially in a state that places much of the burden of election administration on local governments. And despite recent transfusions of cash from the federal government for states to improve election security, the amount allocated to Kentucky in the most recent disbursement only represents about 10 percent of the overall need. But state election officials say that voters have nothing to worry about. The outdated electronic-only voting machines used in the vast majority of Kentucky counties aren’t connected to the internet and there’s no evidence that they’ve been hacked before.

Kentucky: Officials Say Online Voting Not Coming Soon | Jacob Mulliken/Government Technology

The discussion about a digitized polling system has election officials and experts throughout the nation stepping up to avoid a potentially crippling move for the American electoral system, said Kentucky Secretary of State-elect Michael Adams. “I think concerns, especially surrounding hacking, are well-founded right now,” he said. “People want to confirm that their vote can’t be hacked and that the machine tallies the votes offline and that they are collected and processed, offline. The most secure elections are cast in person because there are checks and balances requiring some sort of identification and oversight. When you see fraud, and we have it, it most often happens outside of the purview of election officials. “An online method system out west may work where there is less history of election fraud, but not in places like Kentucky where fraud is still endemic. Internet voting in Kentucky is not anywhere near ready for primetime.”

Kentucky: Misinformation Efforts Over Kentucky Vote Could Be Playbook for 2020 | Jessica Huseman/ProPublica

The right-wing radio personality took to Twitter not long after the polls had closed and it seemed the Democtratic candidate had prevailed in the excruciatingly close race for governor of Kentucky. “Today #ELECTIONFRAUD and what is going on in #kentucky is REAL,” the host of “Tore Says,” streamed on the Red State Talk Radio website, tweeted on Nov. 8. “How do I know? I am actually have EVIDENCE because me and my family are VICTIMS of it.” The personality, whose real name is Terpsichore Lindeman, alleged that somehow she and her husband had wound up as registered Democrats in Kentucky, which she saw as a sure sign that Andy Beshear, the Democratic attorney general ultimately declared the winner of the race for governor, had been manipulating the voter rolls. Lindeman said that she is not a Democrat, and that she had her name removed from the rolls when she and her husband left the state years ago. Indeed, she said her husband is not a U.S. citizen and should not have been on any voting roll.

Kentucky: Skeptics Urge Kentucky’s Matt Bevin To Show Proof Of Election Fraud Claims | Miles Parks/NPR

Trailing in the vote tally for Kentucky’s governorship by about 5,000 votes, incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin decided last week to play what’s becoming a familiar card: He questioned the election’s legitimacy. “What we know is that there really are a number of significant irregularities,” Bevin said Wednesday in front of the governor’s mansion, “the specifics of which we’re in the process of getting affidavits [about] — and other information that will help us to get a better understanding of what did or did not happen.” Bevin declined to take questions from reporters or give more specifics, other than saying that “we know there have been thousands of absentee ballots that were illegally counted.” No Kentucky election official, including Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, has corroborated that claim in the days since Bevin made it. Critics and elections specialists are calling for Bevin to provide evidence of the dramatic claim or retract it. “Gov. Bevin really needs to put up or shut up. Give us the evidence, or stop making these claims of voter fraud that have no evidence behind them,” said Josh Douglas, an election law professor at the University of Kentucky. “I think it’s a danger to the legitimacy of a democratic institution.”

Kentucky: Senate president says Bevin should concede election if recanvass doesn’t alter vote totals | Joe Sonka and Deborah Yetter/Louisville Courier Journal

Republican Senate President Robert Stivers believes Gov. Matt Bevin should concede his loss to Democrat Andy Beshear if next week’s recanvass doesn’t significantly change the vote totals. “It’s time to call it quits and go home, say he had a good four years and congratulate Gov.-elect Beshear,” Stivers said in a brief Friday interview at the Capitol. Bevin finished 5,189 votes behind Beshear in Tuesday’s gubernatorial election but has refused to concede the race, requesting a recanvass of the vote that will take place Nov. 14. The governor has also made allegations of widespread voting irregularities and fraud on Election Day, but hasn’t provided any evidence to back up those claims. Stivers said if Bevin chooses to contest the election by calling a special session of the General Assembly and making a case that there was illegal activity, lawmakers would have to hear the dispute under the state constitution.

Kentucky: A Bevin-Beshear recount? Here’s what could happen in the Kentucky governor’s race | Joe Sonka/Louisville Courier Journal

To cap off one of the wildest finishes to a gubernatorial election in Kentucky history, Democratic candidate Andy Beshear declared victory to supporters Tuesday night, moments after Republican incumbent Matt Bevin told supporters that he will not concede the race. “This is a close, close race,” said Bevin, who trailed Beshear by 5,189 votes with 100% of precincts reporting across the state. “We are not conceding this race by any stretch.” Later that night, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told CNN her office had called the race for Beshear, as they do not believe the difference in the vote can be made up by Bevin. As if matters couldn’t get more complicated, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers then told reporters that a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly may eventually decide the winner, citing a provision in the state constitution that hasn’t been used in 120 years. So … what now?

Kentucky: Republican lawmakers: Bevin can’t turn election dispute into ‘fishing expedition’ | Joe Sonka Louisville Courier Journal

Republicans in Kentucky’s legislature have expressed skepticism about Gov. Matt Bevin’s dispute with Tuesday night’s election results, saying the governor should back up his claims of “irregularities” and not drag the outcome beyond next week’s recanvass. “If there is evidence of fraud or illegalities, as was alluded to last night, Governor Bevin should state his claim immediately and let the evidence be reviewed,” Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “But this is not an opportunity for a fishing expedition or a chance to overturn the election result.” With the Kentucky secretary of state’s results showing he finished 5,189 votes behind Democrat Andy Beshear, his bitter political rival, Bevin requested a recanvass Wednesday. The recanvass involves each county’s election board counting absentee votes and checking printouts to make sure the vote totals they transmitted to the State Board of Elections on Tuesday were correct. It will take place on the morning of Nov. 14. Bevin told a crowd of supporters in Louisville on Tuesday night after the votes were counted that he would not concede to Beshear, referring to unspecified voting “irregularities.” Minutes later, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers suggested that under state law, Bevin could formally contest the election by calling a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Kentucky: Election official says counties can’t upgrade cybersecurity because they’re ‘severely under resourced’ | Kevin Collier/CNN

A top Kentucky election official said Thursday that counties there are “severely under resourced,” affecting their abilities to provide adequate cybersecurity. “Most of us cannot compel our local election jurisdictions to update their equipment,” said Jared Dearing, executive director of the Kentucky State Board of Elections, before an Elections Assistance Commission panel in Silver Spring. The comments came a week after the annual Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, where the three lawmakers who attended — all Democrats — blamed Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, for the Congress’ stagnation on any election security bill. At Def Con, a group of election security researchers host a Voting Village, now in its third year, where independent hackers try to break into decommissioned voting equipment. While no system can be guaranteed safe from hackers, election security experts — including ones consulted for the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report on the subject — resoundingly say that machines need to be routinely updated and use paper ballots so results can be audited.

Kentucky: Bill would strip Grimes’ power over Kentucky elections board | Lexington Herald Leader

A top Republican lawmaker is proposing legislation that would strip embattled Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes of her authority over the Kentucky State Board of Elections. Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said he will introduce a committee substitute Wednesday to Senate Bill 34 that would make the secretary of state a symbolic, non-voting member of the elections board, stripping her of any day-to-day authority over the group. It also would block Grimes and others in her office from accessing to the state’s voter registration database.

Kentucky: The Curious Case of a Kentucky Cybersecurity Contract | ProPublica

In the months after the 2016 elections, state election administrators spent millions of dollars investigating and addressing the cyber intrusions that had penetrated voting systems in dozens of states. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes emerged as one of the loudest voices calling for improvements. In February 2017, at an elections conference dominated by talk of cybersecurity, Grimes claimed to have found the perfect answer to the threat: A small company called CyberScout, which she said would comb through Kentucky’s voting systems, identify its vulnerabilities to hacking and propose solutions. Three days later, Assistant Secretary of State Lindsay Hughes Thurston submitted paperwork to give the company a no-bid two-year contract with the State Board of Elections, or SBE, for $150,000 a year. She did not inform the SBE — the agency that oversees the state’s voting systems — that she was doing so.