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Kentucky Secretary of State Responds to Lawsuit Over Polling Locations

Lisa Autry

A group of Kentucky voters, including a state lawmaker, has filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams.  The suit challenges the minimal number of polling locations for the June 23 primary election.

The lawsuit was filed this week by State Representative Jason Nemes and voters in Jefferson, Fayette, Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties. The county clerks and local boards of election in those counties are also named as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges there will be “significant voter suppression” if there’s only one in-person polling location in each county. 

The coronavirus has resulted in fewer precinct officers and available polling locations, so most local election officials are limiting in-person voting on June 23 to one venue per county. In a wide-ranging interview with WKU Public Radio, Secretary of State Michael Adams said local election officials made those decisions over his objections. Still, he said he doesn’t think a federal judge should decide where the state has polling locations.

“That’s a decision to be made by a county clerk and county board of elections who live in their county, who know how many poll workers they have available, what locations they have available," Adams said. "A federal judge just isn’t suited to make those kinds of decisions.”

Adams said there also isn’t enough time to create additional polling locations and train additional workers. 

Due to COVID-19, Adams and Governor Beshear agreed to postpone the primary by a month, and are encouraging Kentuckians to vote by sending absentee ballots through the mail.  The deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 15.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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