Kentucky soldiers deployed overseas won’t be able to send election ballots back to the state via email, fax machine or any other form of electronic transmissions, at least for now, under legislation that has been revamped by Senate Republicans. The Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection removed that provision from a bill on Thursday before sending it to the full Senate for consideration. Senate President Robert Stivers, the Manchester Republican who sponsored the measure, proposed the amendment striking electronic transmission of ballots in an effort to protect the integrity of elections and the anonymity of voters. He said he did so after concerns were raised about the potential for hackers gaining access to the ballots.
Twenty-four other states allow military personnel to return ballots by some form of electronic transmission. Kentucky allows ballots to return only by mail, and that would continue under Stivers’ measure.
The Kentucky legislation has been given the designation “Senate Bill 1,” signifying it is the Senate’s top priority in the legislative session. With the state being home to Fort Campbell and Fort Knox, lawmakers typically rush to pass measures on behalf of soldiers.
… The government watchdog group Common Cause of Kentucky raised concerns about the potential for hackers to influence elections. The group’s chairman, Louisville attorney Richard Beliles, said he believes the integrity of elections could be at stake.