politics

Chas Sisk | WPLN

As people start requesting absentee ballots, some Tennessee voters have noticed something unusual: The bottom part of the form published by the Secretary of State has a notice saying voters could receive a reward if they report a case of voter fraud.

The notice is highlighted in yellow. It says, “You may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 if you make a report of voter fraud that leads to a conviction.” It also gives the number of the state’s voter fraud hotline.

Frosty Horton, a 69-year-old musician from Nashville, noticed it.

“It’s threatening,” Horton said. “And I don’t mean to sound paranoid about it. I just — my trust level is at a fairly low place.”

Evan Heichelbech

Kentucky’s local election officials have begun submitting plans for how they will conduct in-person voting during the upcoming General Election, but only plans from 26 of the state’s 120 counties have been approved so far.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams are allowing anyone who wants to cast ballots by mail to do so and no-excuse early voting will be available in every county starting Oct. 13.

But for most counties, it’s still unclear how many in-person polling locations will be available in each county, or where they’ll be.

The State Board of Elections approved plans from the first batch of counties on Tuesday, most of them small and medium-sized counties.

Where the major party presidential campaigns are spending their money on TV advertising can tell you a lot about where they're focusing their efforts.

And based on that, it's pretty clear that the race between President Trump and Joe Biden is coming down to just six swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. They are getting the lion's share of the TV advertising money from the campaigns and outside groups supporting them.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear has endorsed Amy McGrath in her race against Mitch McConnell during Kentucky’s race for U.S. Senate this year.

The endorsement isn’t a surprise—Beshear and McGrath are both Democrats—but does put Beshear at odds with McConnell, the senate majority leader, as he tries to seek more federal assistance for Kentucky during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, Beshear wrote that he believes McGrath has the right character and vision to lead the state through crisis.

WKU Political Engagement Project

Each year colleges across the county celebrate National Voter Registration Day in late September with organized events aimed at registering young people to vote.  

On the campus of Western Kentucky University, the annual Rock the Vote Festival usually nets hundreds of newly registered voters. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizers to reimagine this year's event by turning to social media. 

Saundra Ardrey is a WKU Political Science Professor who coordinates the Rock the Vote effort at the school.

Ryland Barton

Members of Kentucky’s Black Legislative Caucus met with Gov. Andy Beshear to discuss a possible special legislative session to pass bills dealing with police reforms and racial injustice.

The development comes as protests over the death of Breonna Taylor have continued for more than three months in Louisville and as the investigation into her death is still being investigated by Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office.

Rep. George Brown, a Democrat from Lexington, said that discussions about the possible special session are still ongoing.

Kyeland Jackson

President Donald Trump has announced 20 people he’d consider to be on the U.S Supreme Court if he has to fill another vacancy, and among them is first-term Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Cameron is 34 years old and the first Black person to independently hold statewide office in Kentucky. He is a protégé of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and worked as general counsel in his Senate office.

Trump’s announcement reprises a tactic from his 2016 campaign when he provided a list of potential justices amid controversy over a Supreme Court vacancy.

J. Tyler Franklin

As the nation decides which party will control the Senate this November, the race in Kentucky stands out for one big reason: It features Mitch McConnell.

Loathed by Democrats across the country as a cynical power broker, but praised by Republicans as a shrewd political tactician, the GOP’s longest-serving Senate majority leader faces a challenge from a well-funded retired Marine lieutenant colonel and fighter pilot who flew in 89 combat missions, including bombings of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate says a scaled-down pandemic relief bill unveiled by Republican Mitch McConnell Tuesday isn’t good enough.

Amy McGrath says Congress needs to pass a measure that helps states handle the crushing economic effects of COVID-19.

The Republican measure cuts by hundreds of billions of dollars the $1 trillion proposal the GOP had initially offered, and is significantly less than the $2.2 trillion plan pushed by Democrats.

Speaking Tuesday at a campaign event in Glasgow, McGrath said McConnell’s bill doesn’t address the serious damage the pandemic is doing across the nation.

LRC Public Information

Kentucky state Sen. Gerald Neal is hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey said Tuesday that Neal checked himself into the hospital as a precautionary measure. He says Neal is upbeat and his prognosis is good.

Neal is a Louisville Democrat who has served in the Senate for 30-plus years. He's the second Kentucky lawmaker in the past week to contract the coronavirus.

Democratic state Rep. Attica Scott of Louisville announced Sunday that she tested positive for the virus and that she’ll quarantine for 14 days.

J. Tyler Franklin

State Representative Attica Scott announced on Sunday evening that she has tested positive for coronavirus.

In a video shared on her social media, Scott said she was tested last week and got the results on Sunday. She said she will self-quarantine for 14 days, per health department guidelines, then get retested. She didn’t say whether she has experienced any symptoms from the virus.

“I want to thank the health care workers who are testing folks daily, providing contact tracing, just taking care of us,” Scott said. “Health care workers like my daughter Ashanti, who tested negative, thank goodness, for COVID-19.”

J. Tyler Franklin

The Senate is preparing to vote this week on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it only has a slim chance of passage in the face of Democrats’ insistence for more sweeping aid.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released the approximately $500 billion measure on Tuesday as senators returned to Washington for an abbreviated pre-election session.

McConnell called the package “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis." 

“The people who have really been hammered in this pandemic are people who work in the hospitality field for hotels and restaurants," McConnell said during a stop in Bowling Green recently. "Those folks, in the proposal I put together for another round, would get another check for $1,200, to try to lift them.”

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s chief election officer says voter registration numbers are slowly rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The number of new registrants flatlined in March, in part, because COVID-19 made it difficult to hold voter registration drives. 

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams announced this week the number of Kentuckians registered to vote increased slightly following the June primary election. 

From June 24-July 31, a total of 21,548 people were added to the state's voter rolls.

Still from CSPAN video

In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump was all-in on the fossil fuel industry. In a 2016 rally in Charleston, West Virginia, the candidate proudly accepted an endorsement from that state’s coal association, donning a hardhat while he mimed digging coal. To thundering applause, he promised to bring back coal jobs to the struggling Appalachian coalfields. 

Four years later, there are fewer jobs in coal than ever, and that enthusiasm was largely absent from the energy pitch the Republican Party made to the American people in its four-night-long convention last week. That’s left stakeholders in Ohio Valley coal regions reading the tea leaves on what another four years of a Trump Administration might look like. 

 


Sydney Boles | Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator, Republican Mitch McConnell, said it’s not his job to weigh in on whether no-knock warrants should be banned statewide.

McConnell spoke in Lexington Tuesday, when the Kentucky Fraternal Order of the Police endorsed his re-election campaign. He addressed a bill, pre-filed by Democratic Rep. Attica Scott last month. It’s been called “Breonna’s Law for Kentucky” — Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in March by Louisville Metro Police officers carrying out a warrant with a provision that allowed them to enter her home without knocking.

“This whole debate over no knock warrants is a matter of law,” McConnell said Tuesday. “You either allow them or you don’t… whether it will be taken up at the state level, I don’t know. But that’s not an issue, I think, at the federal level.”

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