Boone County officials have decided state law trumps the state board of elections, when it comes to homeless voters. County Clerk Kenny Brown said he will follow the direction of Kentucky Revised Statutes regarding voter registration as it pertains to homeless voters rather than follow a State Board of Elections memo.
As a result, homeless voters who do not supply a verifiable address will not be placed in any precinct for the November election, but could still potentially be allowed to vote. “We are not trying to disenfranchise voters here or deprive anyone of the opportunity to vote,” Brown said. “I have an obligation to ensure the integrity of the election process and if I follow the memorandum from the State Board of Elections I don’t think I can do that.”
The June 30 memo to county clerks from Sarah Ball Johnson, executive director of the State Board of Elections, outlined the state’s voter registration procedure for the homeless.
The memo instructs clerks to attempt to contact individuals with incomplete residential address information listed on a voter registration form by calling them or using a mailing address, if provided. If unsuccessful, clerks are instructed to place the person in the precinct containing the county clerk’s office if the address is indicated as homeless, place to place, car, or if no residential address is listed.
Brown said he does not plan to place homeless voters whose information cannot be verified in any precinct.
“If someone shows up on Election Day and identifies himself as a homeless registered voter, we will instruct the poll workers to call the clerk’s office,” Brown said. “We will check the registration cards we have in the office and if that person is listed we will present the card to our Board of Elections. They will make a determination of eligibility.”