Kentucky

Articles about voting issues in Kentucky.

Kentucky: Locked out: Critics say it’s time to end Kentucky’s ban on felon voting | Louisville Courier Journal

Last week’s election held personal stakes for Sara Lee. A Louisville mother of four planning to finish a master’s degree after battling addiction, Lee wanted to vote for candidates who could improve health care, education funding and women’s rights. But Lee’s 2013 felony drug conviction — for which she completed seven months in jail — meant the 37-year-old couldn’t cast a ballot. It left her watching on the sidelines. “I feel like I don’t have a voice,” she said. Kentucky has long had some of the nation’s highest rates of felony disenfranchisement — taking away voting rights because of a crime conviction. Nearly one in 10 residents — and a nation-topping one in four African-Americans — are barred from voting for life because of felony convictions, according to the Washington D.C.-based Sentencing Project. Read More

Kentucky: ‘I can’t stand these machines.’ Record turnout wasn’t why you waited in line to vote | Lexington Herald Leader

Long lines and long waits to vote in Fayette County on Tuesday led many to expect record turnout in the midterm election. But, in the end, turnout was only at 52 percent in Lexington. Higher than usual, but not a record. So the blame turned back to Fayette County’s electronic voting machines, which take a long time to use, especially with a long and complicated ballot. That means some people who didn’t have an hour or more to wait in line may have left before voting. “I certainly heard my fair share of people saying the line was too long and they had to leave,” said Debra Hensley, a former Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council member. “A person who cannot vote is an error on our part.” It’s a complaint that County Clerk Don Blevins Jr., the county’s chief elections officer, has heard before. And he agrees. “I can’t stand these machines,” Blevins said Wednesday. “They’re awkward to use, older citizens really struggle with the wheel, the user interface is just about as bad as it could be.” Read More

Kentucky: Online voter registration left system vulnerable to attack | Louisville Courier Journal

Heralded as the state voting system’s “most transformational reform to date,” the ability for Kentuckians to register to vote online also made them vulnerable to attack. A ProPublica investigation found that as recently as this week, a computer server powering Kentucky’s voter registration website was inadvertently exposing sensitive back-end files to hackers. Kentucky introduced online voter registration in 2016. At the time, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said the move would pave the way for increased participation in elections. … “FTP is a 40-year-old protocol that is insecure and not being retired quickly enough,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C., and an advocate for better voting security. “Every communication sent via FTP is not secure, meaning anyone in the hotel, airport or coffee shop on the same public Wi-Fi network that you are on can see everything sent and received. “And malicious attackers can change the contents of a transmission without either side detecting the change.” Read More

Kentucky: Why is the Kentucky State Board of Elections in chaos? | Lexington Herald Leader

It’s 49 days until Election Day and the Kentucky State Board of Elections is mired in chaos. At issue is a power struggle between the staff of the State Board of Elections and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes over control of Kentucky’s election system. Grimes, a Democrat, argues that her role as chairwoman of the board of elections requires her staff to have access to Kentucky’s voter registration database and oversight of the day-to-day operations of the State Board of Elections. Jared Dearing, executive director of the State Board of Elections, filed a complaint last month with the board, the executive branch ethics commission and the state personnel board, alleging Grimes had overstepped her authority by eliminating the independence of the board’s staff, asking her staffers to access the voter database, and creating a hostile work environment. Read More

Kentucky: State wants to replace voting machines. Some counties aren’t sure why | Louisville Courier Journal

In November, Kentuckians in 22 counties will cast their votes on electronic voting machines that were broken into in less than two days at the annual DEFCON hackers conference last year. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said the state Board of Elections is coordinating with county officials to build hacker-proof voting systems, making use of nearly $6 million it received from Washington D.C. in March when Congress authorized a $380 million state grant program for election security following concerns about election fraud in the 2016 election. The Kentucky Board of Elections set aside the majority of that money — $4.6 million — to upgrade electronic voting machines across Kentucky to paper-trail machines, which experts say are less susceptible to hacking and can be audited to detect fraud. Grimes said she hopes to have the updated equipment in place in time for the 2020 election. Read More

Kentucky: Department of Justice Announces Settlement with Kentucky Ensuring Compliance with Voter Registration List Maintenance Requirements | Imperial Valley News

The Department of Justice Thursday announced that it recently entered into a settlement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Kentucky State Board of Elections, and the Kentucky Secretary of State, resolving the Department’s claims that Kentucky was not complying with the voter registration list maintenance procedures set forth in Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). Under the terms of the settlement, Kentucky will develop and implement a general program of statewide voter list maintenance that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of registrants who have become ineligible due to a change in residence in accordance with Section 8 of the NVRA and state law. Read More

Kentucky: Grimes Says Election Threats Warrant New Security | WUKY

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says state election systems remain secure, but the top election official warns it’s a never-ending battle against new and emerging threats. “No evidence exists to suggest that these bad actors altered any votes in any way,” Grimes reassured Kentucky voters Thursday, before holding up a copy of indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The secretary spoke with reporters following a meeting with Kentucky’s Election Integrity Task Force – made up of representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the state attorney general’s office, and other law enforcement officials – a month ahead of the May primary. Read More

Kentucky: Election Officials Given Cybersecurity Training | Associated Press

Kentucky’s front-line elections officials received cybersecurity training Thursday in another preventive step against hacking, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said. County clerks statewide attended training by the federal Department of Homeland Security on preventing and detecting cyberattacks, Grimes said. The session comes a few weeks before the state’s May 22 primary election. Kentuckians will have a long ballot this year with races for county positions, the legislature and Congress. Read More

Kentucky: Eighth State Quietly Quit Free Anti-Voter-Fraud Program Over Security Concerns and ‘Unreliable’ Results | Gizmodo

The State of Kentucky has pulled out of the Interstate Crosscheck System, Gizmodo has learned, making it the eighth state to quit the program so far—even though it cost nothing to participate. A source with direct knowledge of the decision told Gizmodo that Kentucky never used the data that it received from Crosscheck for the purpose of purging voter rolls because the data was “unreliable.” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes also expressed concern about the security of the program, the source said. Kentucky officially quit Crosscheck in June but made no official announcement at the time. A tweet by Grimes last week about Kentucky not submitting voter data to Crosscheck initially puzzled activists who were unaware of the state’s decision. Read More

Kentucky: Amendment to move elections of state officials clears first hurdle | Kentucky Today

A proposed constitutional amendment to move elections of Kentucky officials to even-number years cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday. SB 4, sponsored by Sen.  Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, would take effect, if approved, following the 2019 elections for Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer and Agriculture Commissioner, giving each of them a one-time, five-year term until the 2024 general election. Read More