Secretary of State
Senate Committee Unanimously Passes Secretary Grimes' Legislation to Protect Rights of Voters with Disabilities

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 04, 2015  
Contact Information:  Lynn Sowards Zellen
Director of Communications
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes
(502) 330-9839

Today, the Kentucky Senate Committee on State and Local Government unanimously passed House Bill 212, which reflects Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ recommendation to allow in-person absentee voting on the basis of age, disability or illness. Under current law, individuals who are unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to age, disability, or illness are permitted to vote only via mail-in absentee ballot.

“On behalf of my grandmothers and all voters who have difficulty voting on Election Day due to disability, age, or illness, I’m grateful to the Senate Committee for moving this important legislation forward,” said Grimes. “The right to vote, including the right to vote in person, is and should be cherished, and I’m proud to preserve it for all citizens, regardless of disability.”

Grimes’ proposal enjoys the support of disabilities advocates. Beth Metzger, a representative from Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, attended the hearing on behalf of the agency. “We thank Secretary Grimes for continuing to advocate for the rights of voters with disabilities and hope the Senate will do the same,” said Metzger. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville), was previously passed unanimously by the House of Representatives.

Since taking office in 2012, Grimes has worked tirelessly to make sure all Kentuckians are able to vote independently and privately. She has coordinated with other advocates for individuals with disabilities to implement the Help America Vote Act and develop programs and resources to protect the rights of voters with disabilities. Grimes also developed and launched a website where citizens can review polling place accessibility surveys that have been submitted by county election officials, increasing transparency and accountability. In 2013, Grimes received the Kentucky Rehabilitation Association’s Gerald N. Williams Accessibility award in recognition of her efforts.

House Bill 212 now moves to the full Senate for a vote. The full text of the legislation is available on the Legislative Research Commission’s website.