A dispute over emailing completed ballots has fractured the bipartisan support behind a bill designed to simplify voting for Kentucky military personnel overseas. Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Senate President Robert Stivers joined forces to push Senate Bill 1 — designed to make it easier for Kentuckians serving abroad to vote. Grimes got the idea after visiting Kentucky soldiers serving in the Middle East last year. But their alliance has splintered because of concerns over the security of emailed votes. The bill, which Stivers filed Friday, includes a phrase that says such votes can be cast “by facsimile” or by “electronic transmission.” But Lourdes Baez-Schrader, a spokeswoman for Stivers’ office, said the phrase was included by mistake, adding that it conflicts with other parts of the bill that do not authorize electronic transmission of ballots.
“The bill allows the person to receive the ballot by electronic means, but they must mail it back,” she said. She said Stivers was concerned about the integrity of votes transmitted electronically. “And Sen. Stivers’ priority has always been the integrity of the ballot,” she said. Asked when that phrase would be stricken from the bill, Baez-Schrader said, “I don’t know. But, obviously there is a legislative process for doing so.”
… Concerns about the electronic sending of votes were raised by Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky. While praised other parts of the bill to make it easier for overseas voters to cast their ballots, Beliles said that “allowing ballots to be cast online via email, efax, or through Internet portals … is not sufficiently secure against fraud nor malfunction.”