elections

WKU Public Radio

Despite worries from election security experts, Kentucky will be one of only a few states in 2020 that’s still using some voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail — an industry standard to verify election results.

The reason is one that Kentuckians have heard often: there isn’t enough money, especially in a state that places much of the burden of election administration on local governments.

And despite recent transfusions of cash from the federal government for states to improve election security, the amount allocated to Kentucky in the most recent disbursement only represents about 10 percent of the overall need.

 


WKU Public Radio

Kentuckians would no longer vote for governor during odd-numbered years under a bill that unanimously passed out of a legislative committee on Wednesday.

Kentucky is one of the few states in the nation that holds elections in odd-numbered years, which generally have low voter turnout because contests for president, U.S. Senate and Congress aren’t on the ballot.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican from Latonia, said that moving the elections would save county governments — which run much of the process — about $10.5 million per election cycle.

 


WKU Public Radio

In the wake of Kentucky’s close gubernatorial race, state lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment that would trigger an automatic vote recount in close elections.

Under the proposal by Republican House Speaker David Osborne and Democratic House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, an automatic recount would be triggered if election results show a candidate winning by less than half of a percentage point.

Eric Lycan, general counsel for House Republicans, said that the measure would allow candidates to get a recount without making larger claims of irregularities or voter fraud.

On a September afternoon at Western Kentucky University, pop culture mingled with politics during a Rock the Vote registration drive.  A recording of Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" played in the background, as Jeb Veeck with College Republicans manned an information table on campus.

"Are you thinking about joining College Republicans?", he asked a student.

As a Republican, Veeck has a lot of company.  In Kentucky, the GOP has been outpacing the Democratic party in terms of new voters for many years. 

Creative Commons

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes clashed with the State Board of Elections on Tuesday after revelations that the board had placed more than 165,000 people on an “inactive list” in the state’s voter registration system.

Representatives from the State Board of Elections say people on the “inactive list” will be removed from the voter rolls if they don’t update their registrations or vote in the next two federal elections.

But they will still be able to vote during the upcoming November elections when Kentuckians will weigh in on races for governor, attorney general and other statewide offices.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is disputing claims that her office is preparing to remove up to a quarter-million Kentuckians from the voter registration rolls. 

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in 2017 that claimed Kentucky had more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18.  The conservative watchdog group alleged that the state’s failure to remove ineligible voters violated the National Voter Registration Act.


WKU Public Radio

A series of reports from The Pew Charitable Trusts that focuses on access to the ballot box said Kentucky lawmakers are showing increased interest in reforming state elections.

 

Scott Greenberger is the executive editor of Stateline, a journalistic project at Pew. He said some lawmakers in the commonwealth are following national trends on issues such as when citizens can cast their ballots.

Kentucky's two U.S Senators both have well-funded political action committees. But the two spend their PAC money in very different ways.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports Republican Mitch McConnell spent the majority of funds last year from his PAC, the Bluegrass Committee, on national, state and local campaigns.

About 80 percent of donations to the Bluegrass Committee came from other PACs, instead of individuals.

Alix Mattingly

The executive director of the Kentucky State Board of Elections is accusing Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes of improperly accessing the state’s voter registration system, creating a hostile work environment and using her position to politicize the election system.

This is the second time in a year that Grimes has been accused of ethical mishaps by a staff member of the state’s elections agency.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants are "accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes," according to a statement from the special counsel's office. The indictment charges them with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."

WKU Public Radio

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said she’s not surprised a federal commission on voter fraud has been shut down.

Grimes and a majority of Secretaries of State across the nation refused to submit voter information to the commission, which was set up by President Trump last year.

Trump claimed he lost the 2016 popular vote only because of massive voter fraud. Grimes said the commission never should have been a reality.

WKU Public Radio

If approved, the proposal would extend the terms of Kentucky’s next governor and other constitutional officeholders by one year, giving the elected officials five-year stints.

Elections for Kentucky’s constitutional officers are now held during odd-numbered years.

Rep. Kenny Imes, a Republican from Murray, said he proposed the bill to save counties money on elections and break up the nearly constant barrage of elections in Kentucky.

Vote Buying: Still Happening In Kentucky

Aug 19, 2016
Thinkstock

Three weeks before primary election day in 1987, the fixer crammed cases of beer into the back of his car and threw a party behind his house in eastern Kentucky. His purpose: to lock up the votes of the 30 or so men and women who attended.

Another day, the fixer went looking for a hunting and fishing crony who could be counted on to haul voters to the polls. To seal the deal, the fixer stuck a $50 bill into his pal’s shirt pocket.

As a reporter for The Courier-Journal newspaper, I shadowed the fixer for a month leading up to the May 1987 primary. He asked that I keep his actual identity confidential. He called himself “the mailman.”

“I deliver,” he explained.

Kentucky House Approves Early Voting Bill

Mar 15, 2016
Creative Commons

A bill aimed at boosting voter turnout in Kentucky by allowing early voting without an excuse has been passed by the state House despite some lawmakers’ concerns about strapping county clerks with extra costs.

The measure cleared the House on a 57-37 vote Monday. It now goes to the Senate, where it could face an uphill fight. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is a leading supporter of the bill.

The legislation would allow early voting by any Kentucky registered voter at least 12 working days leading up to the Sunday before Election Day. The early voting period would include two Saturdays.

Grimes has said the majority of counties now offer absentee voting on Saturday.

The bill’s opponents said expanded early voting would be a burden for county clerks with small staffs.

Health Care, Economy Focus Of Paul’s Town Hall Events

Feb 15, 2016
Ashley Lopez, WFPL

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he will help Gov. Matt Bevin get a waiver from the federal government this summer to begin charging Medicaid recipients for their health insurance.

That will be part of Paul’s message this week as he visits 18 Kentucky cities in four days, his first major trip in the Commonwealth since ending his presidential campaign.

The town hall-style events begin in Scottsville on Tuesday and end in Radcliff on Saturday. Paul has had similar trips in recent months, but this time he won’t be dogged by questions about his other campaign.

Paul is favored to again win the Republican nomination, where he could face Democrat Jim Gray in the fall. The Lexington mayor is the most well-known of the seven Democrats vying for the nomination.

Paul may also discuss the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the increasingly charged political debate about how to replace him on the court.

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