Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Prevails in Voter Protection Suit
The Franklin Circuit Court ruled today that more that 8,100 Kentucky voters were wrongfully purged by Secretary of State Trey Grayson and the State Board of Elections. Judge Thomas D. Wingate noted that the systematic purge of voters had over a 10% error rate, resulting in the removal of hundreds of eligible voters.
“I am very pleased that the Court has recognized the fundamental right of every Kentucky voter to cast a ballot,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “As a direct result of the actions of the Secretary of State’s office, over 250 eligible voters could have been disenfranchised during the Primary Election and perhaps hundreds more during the General Election had we not filed suit to clarify the law,” Stumbo added.
Attorney General Stumbo filed the lawsuit earlier this year after Secretary Grayson announced in an April 24, 2006 press release that 8,100 Kentucky voters had been purged from the voter rolls only 35 days before the 2006 Primary Election. In September 2005, the Board of Elections, at the urging of Secretary Grayson, entered into a pilot project with Tennessee and South Carolina to compare state voter databases. The three states attempted to identify voters who were registered in more than one state and purge the “matching” voters with the earlier registration date.
The Franklin Circuit Court found that this action violated state law. “This ‘match’ is not a ‘request of the voter,’” Judge Wingate stated. “Therefore, the State Board of Elections and the Secretary of State must conduct future purges of voter rolls based on such database matching according to the dictates of [state law.]” The Order required the State Board of Elections to place these voters on the inactive list of voters for at least two (2) federal election cycles before they may be purged.
On September 5, 2006, a coalition of voting rights groups, including League of Women Voters’ of Kentucky, Project Vote, Common Cause of Kentucky, and the ACLU joined the Attorney General, filing a friend of the court (amicus curiae) brief in support of the voters’ rights lawsuit. In its Order, the Court cited the amicus brief in support of its finding that the Secretary of State may not purge voters based only on an inference, not proof, that they have moved out of Kentucky.
Click here to read the Order. (463KB PDF)