Former Sec. of State Grayson says Bill Johnson is "wrong" on homeless voting issue

10/06/2011 05:39 PM

Republican candidate for Secretary of State Bill Johnson has taken a “wrong” position against allowing county clerks to register homeless people to vote in the precinct of the clerk’s office, said former GOP Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

Johnson has made that the centerpiece of his campaign in the race. He faces Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in the Nov. 8 election.

Johnson has argued that the state board of elections is going against the Kentucky constitution by allowing clerks to register people to vote who don’t list an address.

But Grayson said even if the constitution is unclear about what it means to be a “resident,” federal law would supersede that. And federal law has been clear that a person’s right to vote is most important, said Grayson, who is now director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

“There are so many federal court cases that say that a homeless voter who doesn’t literally have a home but who maybe has a park bench or an overpass in which he stays … can list that and register to vote,” Grayson said at the 0:45 mark.

“I think he’s wrong. And I told him that,” Grayson said of Johnson at the 3:00 mark of the interview.

Grayson also said that the state already has tools to respond to people who try to use homeless status to commit voter fraud.

“If this were happening a lot, we would notice it. And authorities could prosecute that,” Grayson said just before the 3:00 mark.

Johnson filed a complaint with the executive branch ethics commission against current Secretary of State Elaine Walker because Walker advised county clerks to continue to use the clerk’s office precinct as the precinct for homeless voters who don’t list an address on their registration forms.

Johnson explained his reasoning during an interview on Pure Politics last month.


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