voting

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Amy McGrath is launching a statewide voter registration initiative.

McGrath is joining local leaders and voting rights advocates Saturday in Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, and Owensboro to register new voters ahead of the November general election.

McGrath is trying to unseat Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

During a campaign visit in Bowling Green Friday, McGrath said she wants all registered voters in Kentucky to be able to cast ballots through the mail this November, as a way of protecting people from the coronavirus.

The retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot said the number of people who voted through the mail in Kentucky’s recent primary election shows it’s the right thing to do.

Kyeland Jackson

Kentucky’s top election official says he doesn’t want all voters to be eligible for mail-in voting during the November General Election, though he still wants to allow older and more vulnerable voters to do so.

Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican, says he’s worried that local election officials and the Post Office will not be able to handle the influx of mail-in ballots if absentee voting is again expanded to all eligible voters, as it was during Kentucky’s primary election in June.

“I’m dubious we can fully replicate the primary election plan in all respects, as we believe turnout will be 250% higher in November than it was in June. And that was pretty high as it was,” Adams said during a legislative committee on Tuesday.

Jacob Ryan

A group of voters and advocacy groups are suing to get Kentucky to continue offering mail-in voting to all eligible voters during the November General Election.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams expanded mail-in voting ahead of Kentucky’s June 23rd primary election in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But no arrangements have been made to continue allowing all Kentucky voters to cast ballots by mail on November 3.

Amy McGrath

Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath has filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit demanding more in-person polling locations in Kentucky’s most populous counties.

Most Kentucky counties will only have one polling location for the June 23 primaries after mail-in voting was expanded to all eligible voters in Kentucky to prevent long lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was originally filed by Republican state Rep. Jason Nemes and McGrath has asked to join the challenge, arguing that the current scheme restricts citizens’ right to vote.

“As has been seen in the other states that have restricted the number of polling sites, it is expected that lines in the populous Kentucky counties that are only providing a single voting location will be excessively long, leading many who intended to vote in-person to abstain from voting at all,” the lawsuit states.

Lisa Autry

A group of Kentucky voters, including a state lawmaker, has filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams.  The suit challenges the minimal number of polling locations for the June 23 primary election.

The lawsuit was filed this week by State Representative Jason Nemes and voters in Jefferson, Fayette, Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties. The county clerks and local boards of election in those counties are also named as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges there will be “significant voter suppression” if there’s only one in-person polling location in each county. 

WFPL news

Kentucky is expanding absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing every voter to cast a ballot by mail or vote early during the state primary elections on June 23.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams announced the changes on Friday.

In a statement, Beshear said that the State Board of Elections is working on a plan to also conduct limited in-person voting with the possibility of a drive-through option.

“While there will be significant education and work required, we are committed to making sure this election will be held in a safe manner, while we are in this worldwide health pandemic,” Beshear said.

Hearken

With concerns mounting about how to conduct elections during a pandemic, states across the Ohio Valley are postponing their primary election dates and, in some cases, expanding access to voting by mail in order to allow people to cast ballots safely. But the implementation of last-minute changes is straining politics and the capacity of local elections officials region-wide. 

Ohio postponed its election from March 17 to April 28, giving its election officials the smallest window in which to adjust their plans. West Virginia delayed until June 9, and Kentucky, which had planned to hold its primary May 19, moved its primary five weeks later to June 23. 

WKU Public Radio

A bill to restore voting rights to some people with felony convictions has taken a step forward in the Kentucky legislature after being expanded to restore other civil rights.

Kentucky is one of two states in the nation that permanently bars people from voting once they are convicted of a felony unless they receive a pardon from the governor.

The proposed constitutional amendment would restore voting rights once an individual completes their sentence for a felony conviction, as long as the crime doesn’t involve election fraud, bribery or sex.

Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville, said that restoring civil rights once people have completed their punishments is an “unqualified good.”

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.


New U.S. Citizen Says Don't Take Voting For Granted

May 20, 2019
flickr/Roger Sayles

For newly naturalized immigrants, Kentucky's May 21st primary election marks the first time to vote as a U.S. citizen. 

Steven Thomas came to Kentucky from the United Kingdom on a green card 30 years ago.  He became a citizen in January this year, and said he's looking forward to finally voting in the state and country he calls home.

"Don't waste the privilege," said Thomas. "I mean I've been on the sidelines of politics for too long in the United States and now I can actually make a difference and my vote will count."


Nina Subin

The landmark legislation granting women in the U.S. the right to vote turns 100 years old this summer. 

To kick off a year-long celebration of the 19th Amendment, Western Kentucky University is hosting writer Elaine Weiss to campus.  Weiss, the author of The Woman's Hour, the Great Fight to Win the Vote, says the effort to force the vote in 1920 remains more than just a voting rights issue.

"It was about changing and challenging the role of women in society," Weiss told WKU Public Radio. "So it was cultural, it was societal, it was for some a moral debate about how women should be treated, were they more than just mothers and wives?"

WKU Public Radio

A Republican candidate for Kentucky secretary of state will not have his professed nickname, “Trump,” printed on the primary ballot this spring, according to a directive from current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes issued a statement on Friday saying that she removed candidate Carl Nett’s nickname after receiving a complaint from another candidate.

“The Secretary of State’s Office determined that the candidate in question offered this so-called nickname in an improper attempt to gain an advantage on the ballot,” Grimes wrote.

Creative Commons

Kentucky's top elections official says voters have one last day to request mail-in absentee ballots for next month's election.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says the last day is Tuesday. Grimes says voters may request absentee ballot applications from their county clerk in person or by telephone, fax or email.

She says qualified military and overseas voters may use the state's online portal at GoVoteKY.com to request and receive absentee ballots.

WFPL News

The Kentucky Personnel Board has voted to investigate Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ use of the state’s voter registration database.

Kentucky State Board of Elections Executive Director Jared Dearing asked the board to investigate. He said Grimes and her office have been using the database to look up the political party affiliation of current and potential employees.

Grimes, as Secretary of State, is chairwoman of the State Board of Elections.

Just in the past few months, elections in the U.S. have been decided by hundreds of votes.

The 2016 presidential election tilted to Donald Trump with fewer than 80,000 votes across three states, with a dramatic impact on the country. Yet, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots in 2016.

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