(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Commonwealth’s chief law-enforcement official and chief elections officer came together today in the State Capitol to announce that they will once again be working together with agencies across Kentucky as part of a task force to prevent and investigate allegations of voter fraud during the November 4, 2008 general election. Attorney General Jack Conway and Secretary of State Trey Grayson discussed the importance of this year’s elections and how each office is working to protect the election from potential fraud.
The Office of the Attorney General has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violations of the Kentucky election laws. By law, the Attorney General administers programs to observe the conduct of elections, maintains a toll-free hotline to receive reports of election law violations, investigates any such violations, takes appropriate enforcement action and conducts post-election audits based on random selection in counties throughout Kentucky. The Election Fraud Hotline is 1-800-328-VOTE (800-328-8683). The hotline is available throughout the year during normal business hours. On November 4, calls will be received from 6 a.m. EST until 7 p.m. EST.
“We need Kentucky voters to be our eyes and ears on election day,” General Conway said. “We will have about a dozen investigators from my office patrolling precincts throughout the Commonwealth, but we need citizens to join with us to ensure we have a fair election.”
Secretary Grayson, who serves as the Chairman of the State Board of Elections, noted that the cooperation between the agencies had been “tremendous”, but that many of these efforts require the help of citizens.
“The success of any election includes the vigilance of Kentucky citizens, and their reporting anything that they may find unusual concerning the election. I encourage all citizens to report any irregularities, both large and small, so that our agencies may work together to address these issues as quickly as possible. Together, we will work to ensure that every citizen can participate in a fair and honest election,” said Secretary Grayson.
The State Board of Elections will also be fielding calls about the election from now through Election Day. Citizens are encouraged to contact their local county clerk or the State Board of Elections with general election concerns or for election information.
Officials from each agency have been meeting in recent weeks to prepare for the election, discussing any potential issues and problem areas.
Because federal races will be on the ballot, the offices of the U.S. Attorney’s for both the Western and Eastern Districts in Kentucky will be conducting their traditional Voting Integrity Initiatives.
United States Attorney David L. Huber of Kentucky’s Western District stated, "The detection of election fraud depends in large part on the watchfulness and cooperation of the Kentucky electorate. Election fraud and voting rights abuses dilute the worth of votes honestly cast. They also corrupt the essence of our representative form of government. As crimes against both the individual and the government, they will be dealt with promptly and aggressively. Regardless of the election involved, federal agents stand vigilant to the enforcement of federal laws regulating the election process and will investigate valid complaints of election impropriety that implicate federal criminal laws."
“Voting is a direct function of this country’s democratic principles,” said Assistant United States Attorney Ken Taylor, representing Kentucky’s Eastern District. “This is an opportunity to let the citizens of this great state know that our office continues to make efforts to ensure that the election process will be handled with purity.”
During the primary, the Office of the Attorney General’s Election Fraud Hotline received 59 calls on election day from 28 counties. There were no complaints of vote-buying. The majority of calls dealt with informational questions or complaints about electioneering within 300 feet of polls and exit-polling violations.
The last Presidential election in 2004 resulted in 52 pre-election complaints, 123 Election Day complaints and 26 post-election complaints. Seventeen of those complaints were referred for review or investigation. There were no charges filed.
Attorney General Conway also sent an alert today to county clerks, local law enforcement officers and prosecutors notifying them of Kentucky law as it pertains to voters wearing t-shirts, buttons or other attire in polling places. General Conway notified officials that voters should not be turned away for wearing such apparel and that any person who unlawfully prevents or attempts to prevent a voter from casting a ballot may be charged with a Class D felony under KRS.119.155.
# # #