Kentucky Democrats: Elections Board Improperly Deactivating Voter Registrations

Sep 16, 2019

Credit Ryland Barton

The Kentucky Democratic Party says that more than 150,000 Kentucky voters have been put on an “inactive list” by the State Board of Elections as part of an effort to clean the state’s voter registration rolls.

The development comes ahead of Kentucky’s elections for governor, attorney general and other statewide offices this November.


In a letter to the State Board of Elections, Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self claimed that the move will deny registered voters the right to weigh in during elections this fall.

“SBE deactivated the voter registration of more than 150,000 Kentuckians behind closed doors with no public notice,” Self wrote.

“The improper maintenance of a list of ‘inactive voters’ will deny registered Kentucky voters who are entitled to vote in the upcoming election the right to do so, and will cause immediate and irreparable harm to the KDP, candidates for office, and most importantly, the public.”

The State Board of Elections did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

The Kentucky Democratic Party said it became aware of the “inactive list” after noticing that the state’s voter registration numbers declined from 3,426,395 voters to 3,259,282 voters between June and July — a difference of 167,113.

According to a letter sent to the Kentucky Democratic Party by State Board of Elections Assistant Director Jennifer Scutchfield, voters placed on the “inactive” list must update their registrations by November 2022 or else be removed.

Scutchfield said that people on the “inactive” list would still be able to vote.

“These voters may vote, and if they vote or update their information prior to November 2022, they will be taken off the list,” Scutchfield wrote.

Earlier this summer, the State Board of Elections mailed out notices to 250,000 inactive voters, saying that they would be removed from the state’s voter registration rolls if they don’t update their current address or vote in the 2020 or 2022 elections.

Kentucky has been ordered to “clean” its voter registration list after conservative group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in 2017 claiming that the state was failing to remove ineligible voters, in violation the National Voter Registration Act.

Judicial Watch’s President Tom Fitton claimed earlier this summer that Kentucky would be removing 250,000 inactive voters from its rolls.

Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes accused the group of pushing false information, saying that “inactive” voters still have the opportunity to retain their registrations in the coming years.