Grimes says voter registration portal and overseas military voting initiatives showing successful results

08/23/2016 04:24 PM

FRANKFORT – Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says that the web portal, launched in March 2016 has been a huge success in allowing Kentuckians to either register to vote, or update their registration online.

Grimes told member of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government Subcommittee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Task Force that more and more citizens are being drawn to the site.

“We had had over 100,000 Kentuckians access it,” Grimes said. “Over 37,000 applications have been processed. Eleven thousand of those applications are new registered voters. The remaining 26,000 are folks who are updating their registration.”

Another improvement was seen in the overseas military voting portal which was launched in 2014 and has seen use grow each year.

In the 2015 general election, 518 military personnel used the portal. That number increased to 1,835 for the 2016 primary election. For the 2016 general election, 2,819 military personnel have used the portal to date.

Matt Selph, Assistant Executive Director, State Board of Elections, who served in the military in Afghanistan, told the task force that he’s hearing good things from military personnel about the process.

“Talking to a lot of these folks, they are very happy that they are able to get their ballot in a very quick manner,” Selph said. Before, it was taking mail three to six weeks to get to us. Where I was in Afghanistan, it would take mail from six weeks to eight weeks from Fort Knox to get to us.”

In the 2012 general election, 311 military personnel from Kentucky had their ballots disqualified for various reasons, mostly because of slow mail which caused long delays in returning their ballots.

Co-chair Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, suggested to Grimes the possibility of military personnel using a friend or relative to cast their vote.

“If someone were going to be deployed, allow them the opportunity assign a proxy to vote for them,” Bowen said.

Grimes said that process could create a number of concerns.

“I will tell you there are considerations that we have to take into account,” Grimes said. “Constitutional, not only our U.S. Constitution but our state constitution, privacy concerns, there are a host of law enforcement issues which would have to be addressed.”


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