Secretary of State
Secretary Grimes' Elections Initatives Pass Unanimously
Today, the House Committee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs passed legislation based on Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ recommendations to modernize voter registration in Kentucky. House Bill 214, a bill to allow voters to register to vote and update their voter registration electronically, passed unanimously. It is sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville).
Grimes has pursued the use of technology to protect the right to vote since being elected, successfully seeking in 2013 legislation to permit electronic voter registration for military and overseas voters. In 2014 she oversaw the implementation of the military and overseas voting portal, which has been praised nationally by voters and local election officials alike for how easy and convenient it is to use. Grimes also held roundtable discussions with elected officials and citizens around the state to discuss expanding electronic voter registration to all voters.
“Electronic voter registration is more convenient and secure, saves our county clerks time and money, and results in more accurate voting records,” said Grimes. “I’m glad that the Committee unanimously agrees with me that it’s time for Kentucky to join the 20 other states that are already taking advantage of it.”
Grimes’ proposal has enthusiastic, bipartisan support, including endorsements by all members of the Kentucky State Board of Elections and all living former secretaries of state. Former secretary of state Trey Grayson expressed his favor for HB 214, noting that electronic voter registration “systems improve the accuracy of voter rolls and reduce the costs of list maintenance.” Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw said that electronic voter registration “will be a great help in reducing costs and errors in the present system.” And former secretary of state Elaine Walker urged the Committee that electronic voter registration “would provide myriad benefits to our citizens, while minimizing the risk of security breaches and errors on the part of the Commonwealth.”
In addition, the 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, a bipartisan commission tasked with identifying ways to improve the voting experience, made implementing electronic voter registration part of its number one recommendation to states. And the practice has been endorsed by the Republican National Lawyers Association and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The Committee also unanimously passed HB 212, legislation proposed by Grimes to allow voters who are unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to age, disability or illness to vote in the county clerk’s office prior to the day of the election. Reps. Owens is sponsoring HB 212.
“Under current law, these voters may vote only by casting a mail-in absentee ballot,” said Grimes. “But many people cherish the experience of voting in person, and this bill would preserve that opportunity for them.”
For more information on the status of HB 214 and 212, visit the Legislative Research Commission’s website.