Appearing before the state legislature’s Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs, Secretary of State Trey Grayson urged legislators to take action on several needed election reforms for the 2005 legislative session. In his remarks, Grayson placed a high priority on addressing the practice of vote hauling and reinstating an electioneering ban.
“While the Commonwealth of Kentucky serves as a national leader in administering elections, further action is needed to make elections as fair, accessible, and transparent as possible,” commented Grayson.
Secretary Grayson outlined plans for regulating the practice of vote hauling which has been long associated with vote buying and vote fraud. He recommended that the legislature require citizens who drive voters to the polls document who they take to vote.
Grayson stated that “the intent of the legislation is to provide a transparent process. By documenting voters who are driven to the polls as well as drivers, a system exists through which vote haulers who illegally buy votes can be located and prosecuted.”
During his testimony, Grayson also encouraged the legislators to adopt an electioneering ban. On January 16, 2004, a three judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Commonwealth’s electioneering buffer zone, which prohibited electioneering within 500 feet of the polling place, was unconstitutional.
“If we are to prevent fraud from entering the election process, it is necessary to create an environment that reflects this desire. By legalizing electioneering near the polls, we allow an atmosphere for corruption to flourish,” said Grayson.
Other recommended reforms fort his and future sessions included an exploration of improving the absentee voting process in Kentucky as well as campaign finance reform. Grayson pushed for increased electronic filing in conjunction with more frequent reporting requirements for some candidates and committees. These recommendations will be offered to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance’s recently created Advisory Task Force for Development of Registry’s Legislative Package. Secretary Grayson serves on that task force.
Grayson noted that these are beginning steps in a continued effort to improve elections for the citizens of Kentucky and that with the help of the legislature, Kentucky will continue to serve as a national model for elections.
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