Democratic candidates for Secretary of State tout experience, credentials

05/06/2011 10:08 AM

While the Democratic Secretary of State candidates might agree on some issues, recently-appointed Secretary of State Elaine Walker and her opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, differ in how they deliver their messages.

Grimes says her goal is to protect every vote and give voters greater access to the polls. One way she plans to do that is to put voting machines in veterans’ hospitals and veterans’ nursing homes, and by reaching out to domestic violence victims.

“By reaching out to victims of domestic violence to make sure they’re becoming engaged in this process and registering to vote without fear of harm or worse retribution befalling them,” Grimes said. But she plans on allowing them to change their address to avoid making their private residence more well known. (See the 3:05 mark of Part 1 of the video)

“By allowing them to have the security to know that when they register, they’re listing the office of Secretary of State, as their residence on public voter registration rolls instead of their private residence,” Grimes said. (See the 3:18 mark of Part 1 of the video)

Walker says she wants to engage young voters through civic engagement in schools and beyond, including voting in honor of a veteran. She’s also engaging the county clerks, who oversee elections in counties, by giving them her personal cell phone in case something goes awry election night. And clerk training will become a focus for Walker as well.

“We are using information technology to try and develop interactive training with those clerks and those deputy clerks. So that we can make sure they’ve got the right tools to know what may happen to protect against voter fraud,” Walker said.
(See the 5:30 mark of Part 1 of the video)

Both candidates say they’re working hard to stamp out voter fraud. Walker says training and assessing the voting machines themselves can eliminate voter fraud.

“I want to do an in-house assessment of all the various voting machines, to find out where the potential for fraud my occur,” Walker said. (See the 6:15 mark of Part 1 of the video.)

Both candidates agreed that Kentucky’s county clerks do a large amount of work with a relatively small amount of money.

But Walker doesn’t see a way for clerks to get their fees increased in the current budget climate.

“The difficulty is that we’re not out of the valley yet, we still have some budget cuts coming down the road,” Walker said (See the :45 part of Part 2) “I would love to see the fees increased down the line. Right now, I don’t think it’s realistic in the next year or two.”

Grimes said it’s important that the clerks get the money they’re entitled to from businesses filing to operate in Kentucky.

“Making sure we are using the Secretary of State’s office, Senate Bill 8, the One-Stop shop to help collect those fees to disseminate down to the county clerks so that they have the funds they are due, deserve in their hands,” Grimes said (See the 2:15 mark of Part 2)

Grimes said she’s also proposing accelerated filing fees, which other states use, but Kentucky does not. But she said she is not in favor of increasing the clerk’s fees to stay business friendly.

At least one Republican candidate is proposing that a proof of citizenship be provided when a person registers to vote. But the Democrats both say the laws on the books are sufficient to ensure that voters are properly registered.

- Summarized by Lanny Brannock


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