Secretary of State
Secretary Grimes Launches Online Portal for Military and Overseas Voters
Today, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes launched her office’s new Online Portal for Military and Overseas Voters. The Portal is part of the Kentucky Military Heroes Voting Initiative, which is the result of recommendations Grimes made following a trip to the Middle East in 2012 to visit Kentucky soldiers and evaluate military and overseas voting procedures.
At the press conference announcing the Portal, Grimes said, “Kentucky is home to more than 50,000 military men and women. For too long, our laws haven’t adequately protected their right to vote, so I’m excited and proud that we’re finally able to put them at the front of the line and give them the time and the tools needed to help make sure their voices are heard.”
Qualified military and overseas voters can use the Online Portal to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application, which they can use to register to vote, update their registration information, and request an absentee ballot. Qualified voters can also choose to receive their blank absentee ballots electronically. The Online Portal helps to limit delays associated with military and overseas mail and enables military and overseas voters to timely receive, fill out and return their ballots.
And pursuant to the new law, the November 4th General Election is the first Kentucky election in which military voting procedures are available to more than 8,500 members of the National Guard. Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb, who serves many voters stationed at Ft. Knox, thanked Grimes for her work to help make sure military voters’ ballots are counted. He said the Portal “saves our staff time and reduces errors in entering contact information, so we ensure voters who use the Online Portal get their ballots faster in order to timely return them.”
Grimes’ Initiative also allows qualified military and overseas voters to use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and vote for any office in any election.
Members of the bipartisan coalition of legislators that helped Grimes usher legislation to create the Portal joined her at the launch. Rep. Daryl Owens, chair of the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs, said, “When Secretary Grimes returned from the Middle East, it didn’t take much to determine that she was very passionate about this issue and that she was going to see this through. I want to express my appreciation to Secretary Grimes for her vision, for her fight, for her persistence in ensuring that all of our military – to include the National Guard – will have their votes counted in elections.”
Military service members, veterans and their families also attended the launch and spoke about how the Portal improves the military voting experience. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to see firsthand how military and overseas voters can apply to register to vote and request an absentee ballot.
Over the past several weeks, Grimes has visited Kentucky’s two military installations, Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell, and the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort to ensure that eligible voters are aware of and familiar with the new options available to them. Her outreach efforts have included meeting with Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky Adjutant General; Col. David L. Dellinger, Ft. Campbell Garrison Commander; Col. Brian J. Mennes, Ft. Knox Deputy Commanding Officer; voting assistance officers; and enlisted personnel. Tonini said, “I appreciate Secretary Grimes and members of the General Assembly’s commitment to protecting our service members’ voting rights. The new Portal is a significant step toward making sure their votes count.”
Under the new law, military and overseas voters can also check the status of their application and find out whether their ballot has been received by their county clerk through the State Board of Elections’ Absentee Ballot Status Inquiry website.
For more information about military and overseas voting procedures, visit the State Board of Elections’ website or contact your county clerk.