The recently fired assistant to the director of the State Board of Elections alleged in a letter to some members of the board that the office of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes improperly gathered voter information from the state’s voter registration system during campaigns. In the letter, Matthew Selph, who was fired by the Board of Elections on Tuesday along with director Maryellen Allen, recalled a conversation with a staffer in the Secretary of State’s Office who said he was directed by the office to gather information “probably 3 or 4 times. . . every time they were running.” He did not specify what information was gathered. Selph has reported the conversation to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. “Data that is released is documented, recorded and tracked through every step of the system to ensure that everything was done properly,” Selph, a Republican, wrote. “When the data was taken out of this building on a thumb drive, that trust was broken. We have no way to know what was on it, where it went or what it was used for.”Full Article: Fired staffer launches allegations at Secretary of State Grimes | Lexington Herald Leader.
Articles about voting issues in Kentucky.
The State Board of Elections fired its executive director and assistant to the director on Tuesday. The board did not explain why Executive Director Maryellen Allen, a Democrat, and Assistant to the Director Matthew Selph, a Republican, were dismissed. “This was a bipartisan decision of the state board of elections, both non-merit employees, that their services were no longer needed,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who serves as the chairwoman of the board. When pressed for the reason, Grimes just repeated her earlier statement. “Their services were no longer needed,” she said. Both Allen and Selph said they were not given a reason they were fired, but Selph said he felt it was because he raised questions about the operation of the board.Full Article: Kentucky Board of Elections fires director and assistant director | Lexington Herald Leader.
More than 40 states and the District of Columbia are saying they can’t or won’t hand over voter data to President Trump’s “election integrity” commission — and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes had a colorful way to describe how the White House request has been received in her state. “As my grandmother used to say, ‘It’s about as welcoming as a breeze off an outhouse,’” Grimes said on MSNBC Wednesday. “The folks across the state — not just Democrats, but Republicans — are realizing that turning over personal sensitive information to the federal government — to the president who has requested this — one, isn’t in the state’s interest and two, isn’t in individuals’ interests.” The data requests were first made last week by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a group formed by Trump following his unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. The letters requested information about voters, including birthdays, party affiliation and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.Full Article: Kentucky secretary of state emerges as most quotable opponent of Trump voter fraud panel.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says her office will not comply with a request by the President’s Commission on Election Integrity. The commission, headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence, was formed by President Trump in May to investigate alleged acts of voter fraud. Trump has claimed without evidence that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election.Full Article: Secretary Grimes denies White House request for voter information.
A new law to strengthen Kentucky’s early voting statutes took effect late Tuesday, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Wednesday. Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 319 into law just before the 10-day veto period expired after the General Assembly adjourned. “I am extremely proud to see part of the early voting reforms we have pushed for years finally take effect,” Grimes said. “This new law will give thousands of voters who struggle with age, a disability or illness a path to have their voices heard by voting early via mail or in person.” Prior to the enactment of House Bill 319, voters who could not vote in person on Election Day due to age, disability, or illness could only cast absentee ballots by mail. Those voters may now visit their county clerk’s office to cast ballots in-person during the absentee voting window.Full Article: Harlan Daily Enterprise | Early voting provisions become law.
A new law to strengthen Kentucky’s early voting statutes took effect late Tuesday, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Wednesday. Gov. Matt Bevin signed House Bill 319 into law just before the 10-day veto period expired after the General Assembly adjourned. “I am extremely proud to see part of the early voting reforms we have pushed for years finally take effect,” Grimes said. “This new law will give thousands of voters who struggle with age, a disability or illness a path to have their voices heard by voting early via mail or in person.”Full Article: Early Voting Provisions Grimes Championed Become Law | WMKY.
In a national television appearance on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell knocked down claims of wide-scale voting fraud in the presidential election. While tossing cold water on President Trump’s repeated (and unsubstantiated) claims of fraud impacting the election, McConnell did say that vote fraud is real, it happens, and Kentucky has a history of it. “… the Democratic myth that voter fraud is a fiction, is not true,” McConnell said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve had a series of significant cases in Kentucky over the years. There is voter fraud in the country.” Our reporting pals at WAVE-3 in Louisville asked McConnell’s office for details. His office responded with a link to our newsroom’s August 2016 article on Kentucky’s history of vote buying. So, is McConnell right? Is fraud rampant in Kentucky? No, not really. The answer is complicated, though, and it boils down to semantics.Full Article: Voting Fraud vs. Election Fraud And Claims Of Chicanery In Kentucky.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said that during the Kentucky General Assembly, which began Tuesday, she will push for early voting and legislation to make it easier for veteran-owned businesses to get started. “When I took office, I promised Kentuckians that I would bring commonsense changes and reforms to the Secretary of State’s office—that I would make it easier to do business with government and tear down barriers to the ballot box—and, together, we are making strides,” Grimes said. “In this session, I’ll continue to keep that promise.” Grimes’ legislative campaign for early in-person absentee voting began last year and won bipartisan support, including the endorsement of Tre Hargett, the Republican Secretary of State of Tennessee. He traveled to Frankfort to offer his testimony on the legislation. Grimes’ proposal calls for allowing all Kentucky voters to cast ballots early in-person without an excuse during their county’s in-person absentee voting window. Early voting is offered in 37 states and the District of Columbia.Full Article: Secretary of State pushing for legislation to help veteran-owned start-ups.
Boyd County will spend $80,000 for a one-question “wet” election on packaged alcohol sales — three months before it spends another $90,000 on the presidential election. Kentucky law bars counties across the state from holding local-option elections on the same day as primary and general elections, if the special election is county wide. “That’s so archaic,” said Boyd County Judge-Executive Steve Towler. “It’s utterly ridiculous to have a special election for one question.” County clerks across the state have lobbied Kentucky legislature to amend KRS 242.030 to help alleviate the cost of county-wide, local-option elections. A previous bill, for instance, would’ve helped by requiring the petitioners calling for a vote on county-wide alcohol sales to cover part of the cost. House Bill 621, the most recent attempt to alter the statute, was halted last March.Full Article: Special elections prove costly for Kentucky counties | News | dailyindependent.com.
Kentucky: Recanvass of Democratic Primary votes confirms Hillary Clinton wins Kentucky | Louisville Courier-Journal
Hillary Clinton remains the winner of Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary after Thursday’s recanvass of votes. “The recanvass results that we received today are the same as those certified totals that my office received on Friday. The difference between Hillary Clinton and Sen. (Bernie) Sanders: 1,911 votes,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Thursday afternoon at the State Capitol. Unofficial vote totals reported by the state Board of Elections on the night of the May 17 primary gave Clinton a 1,924-vote lead over Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont. But those totals changed slightly on Friday – reducing the margin to 1,911 votes – after each county reported its certified results to Grimes’ office later in the week. Grimes said the recanvass resulted in no change from those certified results she had in hand as of Friday: 212,534 votes for Clinton, and 210,623 votes for Sanders. “The recanvass vote totals, which were submitted to my office today will become the official vote totals that the State Board of Elections will certify on May 31,” Grimes said.Full Article: Recanvass of Kentucky Democratic Primary votes confirms Hillary Clinton wins Kentucky.
Bernie Sanders has requested a recanvass of votes cast in Kentucky’s Democratic presidential primary last week, which he lost to Hillary Clinton by 1,924 votes. The recanvass is essentially a re-tabulation of results from each precinct and will be conducted on Thursday, May 26, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. “The purpose of a recanvass is to verify the accuracy of the vote totals reported from the voting machines,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes tweeted after receiving Sanders’ request. Sanders sent the request to Grimes’ office on Tuesday morning; the deadline to ask for a recanvass is 4:00 Tuesday afternoon. According the Kentucky Democratic Party, Clinton won 28 delegates and Sanders won 27 from last week’s primary election.Full Article: Recanvass Of Ky. Presidential Primary Votes Will Happen Thursday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) has requested a state-run recanvass of last week’s Kentucky Democratic primary, hoping to earn at least one more delegate out of one of the year’s closest races. The decision, first reported by the Associated Press, came just hours before the deadline to request a new look at the Kentucky vote. On election night, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton led Sanders by 1,924 votes out of 454,573 cast. That prompted her campaign to declare victory, and for Kentucky’s election chief Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Clinton supporter, to tell news outlets that Clinton was the “apparent winner” of an upset. But Sanders never quite conceded the election. At rallies since the May 17 vote, he has referred to Kentucky as a delegate tie — it was, awarding 27 delegates to each candidate — and talked about dramatically cutting Clinton’s margin from the 2008 Democratic primary. On election night, after CNN reported that Sanders would not request a recount or recanvass, his spokesman Michael Briggs told The Washington Post that the decision was still to be made.Full Article: Bernie Sanders asks for recanvass of Kentucky primary vote - The Washington Post.
A recanvass is essentially a review of the vote totals in each county. County clerks will review the absentee votes and check the printouts to make sure the numbers were correct when they were transmitted to the State Board of Elections. State law allows for recanvassing only if a county clerk or a county board of elections notices a discrepancy or if a candidate makes a written request to the secretary of state.
The Kentucky Democratic Party on Wednesday was waiting on final numbers from the Tuesday’s presidential primary before doling out delegates to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Daniel Lowry, a spokesman for the party, said Democrats had hoped to get the numbers by Wednesday afternoon but that the numbers may not be finalized until sometime Thursday. He said the party expects the apportionment could be 28 delegates for Clinton and 27 for Sanders following the narrow win for the former Senator and Secretary of State. “It was so close,” Lowry said of the election returns. According to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office, Clinton beat Sanders by 1,924 votes out of 454,573 cast in the presidential primary.Full Article: Clinton, Sanders' Ky. delegate split pending.
Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill into law on April 13 that will make it easier for felons in Kentucky to have their records expunged and restore their full rights as citizens. Kentucky House Bill 40 will allow felons the opportunity to submit for expungement five years after probation or the end of their sentence, whichever is the longest. “It’s an honor and privilege to be able to sign House Bill 40 into law,” Bevin said at the signing. “It is critical that there is an opportunity for redemption and second chances because America is a land that was founded on these principles. The greatness, uniqueness, beauty and extraordinary nature of America is based on the fact that we do give people an opportunity for redemption.” The law comes after Kentucky’s previous governor, Steve Beshear, filed an executive order to allow released felons to vote shortly before he left office last year. That executive order differs significantly from the one signed last Wednesday.Full Article: Bevin signs legislation to restore felons' voting rights | News | wkuherald.com.
A bill to allow no-excuse early voting in Kentucky is dead for this year. Legislation proposed by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes cleared the House, but never came up for a vote in the Senate. The legislation was aimed at boosting voter turnout in Kentucky. Currently, voters must have a qualifying reason to vote early. Grimes was the leading supporter of the bill. She expressed frustration that the measure won’t be passed this year. “I’ve traveled the state and people feel it’s something that we should already have,” Grimes stated. “Much like online voter registration, it’s something they expect.”Full Article: Kentucky General Assembly, Clerks Pass On Expanded Early Voting | WKU Public Radio.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes continued her statewide tour of college campuses Tuesday at Eastern Kentucky University, where she is encouraging people, especially students, to register in time for the May 17 primary election using the Commonwealth’s new online voter registration portal, GoVoteKY.com. The deadline to register to vote in the May primary is April 18. Several students used the portal at the town hall to register to vote and attendees discussed the portal’s ease of use, accessibility and other election issues. Grimes said the OVR will improve the accuracy of voter rolls and will lead to major cost savings for the Commonwealth and hailed the portal as a major success for Kentucky. Grimes said her administration has worked creating the portal for less than a year and that the new online system was created in-house using Kentucky talent while partnering with Microsoft.Full Article: Kentucky has new online voter registration system | News | richmondregister.com.
A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky cannot bar a corporation from contributing to political campaigns while no such restrictions apply to other organizations such as labor unions. The ruling stems from the heated battle over “right-to-work” legislation in the state: the labor unions that oppose those measures are allowed to make political donations, while a non-profit corporation that promotes them is not. U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove ruled on Thursday that Kentucky Registry of Election Finance officials cannot enforce the state’s constitutional prohibition on corporate contributions, finding the disparate treatment of corporations and unincorporated organizations violates the Constitutional right to equal protection under the law.Full Article: Judge tosses Kentucky's ban on corporate campaign donations - Washington Times.
A bill that would allow a minimum of 12 days of early, no-excuse voting before Election Day by all registered voters in Kentucky, is currently in the Senate’s Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee, and apparently at this point has not been scheduled for a hearing. Numbered HB 290, the measure passed the House last week by a vote of 57-37. If the bill is approved by the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin, it would allow early voting by all registered voters ahead of the November 8 general election. It is uncertain at the moment if the bill, sponsored by Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, has been placed on the Senate committee’s agenda for a hearing.Full Article: Early voting bill still in Senate committee | News | somerset-kentucky.com.
Pam Newman said her mother served out a felony sentence in Pennsylvania and could vote again in that state, but when her family moved to Kentucky her mother’s voting right was taken away. During a bill hearing Wednesday, Newman pleaded with lawmakers that the time had come for a change to the state’s voting restoration laws. Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) testified on his bill giving state residents a chance to add an amendment to Kentucky’s constitution which would give the General Assembly the right to decide felon eligibility for voting right restoration. Restoring felon voting rights has become an evergreen issue in the legislative session for at least 10 years.Full Article: House, Senate disagree on felon voting rights | The State Journal.