Secretary of State
Statement Regarding the 23rd District State Senate Race
Statement from Les Fugate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
“Today, the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP) issued a statement about the 23rd State Senate Election. In order to ensure that Kentuckians are not misled about the elections process in this race, I felt it important to explain several issues.
“First, the State Board of Elections stresses the necessity for county boards of elections to examine voting machines prior to election day as required by Kentucky law. In fact, we emphasized these examinations in county clerk trainings earlier this year. In addition, the General Assembly, at our request, recognized the importance of these examinations by adding an examination requirement for in-house absentee systems during its 2008 session.
“It is regrettable that the programming error was not found prior to the election, but it is important for Kentuckians to know that the votes for the 23rd State Senate race were counted. There was no malfunction of a voting machine; it was improperly programmed and not discovered by the county board of elections. It is also important to note that a county board of elections includes a member of each political party as nominated by the local party organization.
“Second, our office has no evidence of “questionable allocation of absentee ballots” as Jennifer Moore, the chair of the KDP suggested. In fact, according to a report by the Kentucky Enquirer, the KDP’s candidate has improperly stated the total number of absentee ballots in previous election years.
“The report states:
‘During the 2004 race between Groob and Westwood, there were 2,300 mail-in absentee votes, Groob said. This year, with Eldridge reporting high turnouts in absentee voting, only 1,100 mail-in absentee votes were cast in that race, she said.’
“However, the Kenton County Certification of Official Count and Record of Election Totals from 2004 documents different numbers.”
Below are the numbers of absentee ballots from 2004 and 2008 according to the Certification of Official Count and Record of Election Totals from Kenton:
Absentee Machine Paper Absentee Total Absentee
(i.e. walk-in) (i.e. mail-in) (both machine & paper)
Total Votes Cast: 1,316 1,001 2,317
Total Votes Cast: 1,710 1,100 2,810
Attached are copies of each Certification of Official Count and Record of Election Totals from Kenton County.
“Mrs. Groob is comparing the total number of absentee votes in 2004 to just the total number of paper (or mail-in) absentee votes in 2008.
“As for the final assertion about our office incorrectly stating that a recount can be held in state legislative races, my comment has been that eligible candidates have until 10 days after the election to file a petition for a recount, and that procedure is conducted via the judiciary. I apologize if my lack of specifics about legislative races was confusing and gave the wrong impression.
“We share Kentuckians’ concern for free and fair elections. Citizens should rest assured that the elections process in the Commonwealth is professional and recognized as outstanding all around the country. We will continue to work with County Clerks to ensure that our process continues to uphold the highest of standards.”