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Kentucky Secretary of State seeks minor tweaks in election reforms

Kentucky’s Secretary of State would like to see some minor modifications in election reforms adopted in 2021. Michael Adams supports giving the major election measure time to work before considering substantive changes.

The COVID-19 pandemic created voting challenges in the fall of 2020. So almost a year ago, Kentucky lawmakers passed what Secretary of State Adams calls the biggest reform of the election system in 130 years. And he said it needs to be given time to see how well it works. Adams noted a change offering no-excuse early voting Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before an election did prompt some reaction.

“Some of the clerks said 'well, we don’t offer office hours on Saturday, so we’re exempt.' Well, I want the law to be clear that every voter’s got a right to vote on Saturday without an excuse if they choose to do that. So, there are some technical housekeeping things that we’re going to be offering later in the session,” said Adams.

Adams doesn’t envision any expansion unless there are substantial lines during those early voting days.

“Now that may change in 2022, you got much bigger races on the ballot, many more races on the ballot, a constitutional amendment, and so forth. So, that may change. I think if we have long lines on the early voting days, you’re going to see an appetite next year to extend to maybe a week of voting,” explained Adams

Adams said he played the role of, quote, “a supporting actor” as lawmakers worked to redraw legislative boundaries. He said his technical advice was intended to help ensure adherence to state and federal law.