Kentucky General Assembly, Clerks Pass On Expanded Early Voting

Apr 11, 2016

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."

The Kentucky County Clerk’s Association opposed the bill.  Warren County Clerk Lynette Yates said the group feels expanded early voting would be a burden for county clerks with small staffs.

"I have three people in my voter department and then we have other people who fill in part-time," Yates told WKU Public Radio. As time gets closer to elections, we get busier, so I have people I can shift over from another position, and some of the smaller counties would not have the luxury that the larger counties have."

Thirty-seven states allow no excuse early voting.  Proponents in Kentucky say they will try again in the 2017 General Assembly.