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Kentucky Secretary of State accepts award for supporting election integrity

Kentucky's Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams accepts the John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage" award in Boston.
Kentucky's Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams accepts the John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage" award in Boston.

Kentucky Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams has accepted the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Award for his work in promoting election integrity.

Secretary of State Michael Adams won the award for his work in promoting the state’s election integrity and expanding voter access.

The John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Award is designed to celebrate the politically courageous. Adams stood up to members of his own party in 2020 when he received severe backlash, led by former President Donald Trump and his supporters, for reaffirming the integrity of the presidential election — even receiving death threats for doing so.

As he accepted the award at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston Sunday night, Adams said that some politicians have become followers instead of leaders. He chided elected officials for taking their cues from “the reigning mob of the moment” instead of their own conscience and ideals.

“Today's politics penalizes the workhorse and rewards the show horse. It prizes provocateurs, and punishes problem solvers,” Adams said.

Kentucky’s top election official has overseen the addition of no-excuse early voting in Kentucky and the creation of an online portal that allows people to obtain an absentee ballot and track it.

He also helped put in place a new system that allows counties to implement voting centers, where a person can vote regardless of their precinct.

“While other states have played politics with voting, and adopted election policies that stoke controversy, Kentucky has instead simply moved forward,” Adams said.

Adams acknowledged that gains in voting access were a bipartisan effort between a Democratic governor and a Republican-controlled legislature.

Adams won reelection last year by a large margin in both the general and primary elections, beating two primary challenges from prominent election-deniers.

He has also pointed to this year’s primaries, where a couple politicians who have promoted election conspiracy theories lost in the primaries, like GOP Sen. Adrienne Southworth from Lawrenceburg.

“Our voters deserve credit too because when we've had candidates for these offices and for our state legislature, who've trafficked lies and demagoguery about our elections, our voters reject them,” Adams said.

Former winners of the Profile in Courage award include U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, and former Presidents Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush.

State government and politics reporting is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Lexington, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at