A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Alison Lundergan Grimes provides overview of her 2017 service as Kentucky’s 78th Secretary of State

Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes presents her year-end review:

More than 200,000 Businesses Open in Grimes’ Tenure; Another Record-Breaking Year for Business Filings

In the six years since Secretary Grimes took office, 200,000 new businesses have opened in Kentucky with more than 37,700 starting up in 2017. For a second straight year, Kentucky businesses broke records for filing business records with the Secretary of State. In 2017, the most entities ever filed the statutorily required annual reports with the Secretary of State’s office, breaking a record set last year. More than 78% of entities filed reports online. The number of businesses that were administratively dissolved for failing to file their annual report fell to the lowest number ever.

Kentucky Businesses Continue Giving Back

Businesses large and small across the Commonwealth continued with their commitments to bettering their communities through corporate giving and building a culture of giving within their organizations. Secretary Grimes’ Corporations for the Commonwealth program recognizes those businesses throughout Kentucky. In 2017, Grimes recognized Farmer’s Daughter Soap Company in Paducah for its support of charities throughout the Purchase Area; UGN, Inc., in Somerset for its involvement in the local school system and mentoring program; and DV8 Kitchen in Lexington for providing second-chance employment to Kentuckians.

Grimes Leads Remote Notarization Technology Nationwide Conversation
Secretary Grimes continues to chair a national task force on remote notarization technology and policy. She is helping guide states’ understanding and possible implementation of this groundbreaking new notarization method. This work comes after she pushed to modernize Kentucky’s notary applications by bringing the process online. 
National Leader on Voter Privacy

In 2017, Secretary Grimes was highlighted as a national leader in an ongoing conversation about voter privacy and the security of voter information. The issue came to the forefront when President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity (PCEI) requested of every state information about voters, including sensitive personal information like voters’ Social Security numbers, address, and party affiliation. The commission still has not fully identified a reason for the request, but the collection of the data would essentially lead to a national voter file, which media reports said would be housed in the White House. Sec. Grimes famously said, “There’s not enough bourbon in Kentucky” for her to turn over Kentucky voters’ personal data. 

Over the summer, Sec. Grimes led her bipartisan fellow Secretaries of State in affirming states’ constitutional rights to administer federal, state, and local elections. The National Association of Secretaries of State, at Sec. Grimes suggestion, unanimously adopted a resolution in response to the request received from the PCEI. The resolution reiterated the responsibilities of states to run elections and the secretaries’ collective “commitment to strengthening election cybersecurity and processes, and increasing voter participation.”

Early Absentee Voting Expanded – Age, Disability, Illness

In her quest to bring traditional early voting to Kentucky, Secretary Grimes won passage of measures expanding absentee voting which were championed by voting and disability advocates across the Commonwealth. The new law allows voters who are unable to appear at the polls on Election Day because age, disability, or illness to vote early in their clerks’ offices before the election. They had previously only been allowed to vote absentee by mail.

E-Poll Books Coming in 2018

In 2016, Secretary Grimes successfully led a pilot program for electronic poll books in the primary and general elections. E-poll books have proven to cut down voter check-in time and save massive amounts of time and money in election administration. The success of the pilot program led to Kentucky’s plan for securing e-poll books for every precinct in Kentucky for the 2018 and future elections.
Second Statewide Conversation on Civic Engagement & Trust in Government

At the beginning of the year, Secretary Grimes began a second statewide conversation on civic engagement and trust in government based on the findings of Kentucky’s second Civic Health Index. The Index showed the Commonwealth improved in national rankings in social connectedness, community engagement and voter registration since Sec. Grimes released the first report in 2012. But, it also showed that fewer than half of Kentuckians have confidence in media and institutions. Sec. Grimes’ held more than a dozen roundtables across Kentucky, inviting public officials, journalists, students and educators, and citizens to discuss issues important to them and ways to improve civic engagement and rebuild trust in our government and media.

Facilitating Positive Communication between Deaf, Hard of Hearing Kentuckians & Law Enforcement

Secretary Grimes advocated for and helped secure passage of a measure to help aid communication between the more than 700,000 Kentuckians who are deaf or hard of hearing and law enforcement officials. She worked with deaf and hard of hearing advocates and bipartisan lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 189 in the 2017 legislative session. The law will allow deaf and hard of hearing persons to indicate voluntarily their status in the Kentucky vehicle registration system, allowing law enforcement officers to see the status during traffic stops. Grimes worked with the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Kentucky State Police, Protection and Advocacy, and other advocates to lobby for the bill before the General Assembly.

Bringing Together Veterans, Patients, Medical Community to Craft Medical Cannabis Legislation

Secretary Grimes initiated a serious statewide discussion in support of making Kentucky the thirtieth state in the nation to give patients access to medical cannabis. She formed a task force made up of Kentucky’s medical community, including doctors, nurses and medical administrators, as well as representatives from law enforcement and state agencies with regulatory oversight, medical marijuana advocates, and military veterans. With a patient-centered approach, the task force is working on crafting meaningful medical cannabis legislation for the 2018 legislative session. Grimes has called for the legislation to be bipartisan and is encouraging cities and counties to support the initiative because the issue is one that has a face and a name for many people. Most Kentuckians know a friend, neighbor, or loved one who can benefit.

250,000 Pounds of Food to #HelpFeedKY

Secretary Grimes is a committed champion for hunger issues. More than one in five Kentuckians do not always know where they will get their next meal, including almost one in four children. In partnership with the Kentucky Association of Food Banks and Kentucky’s area development districts, Sec. Grimes launched Kentucky’s first ever Commonwealth of Kentucky Bowl – a statewide food drive to #HelpFeedKY. Answering Sec. Grimes’ call, the 15 area development districts raised the equivalent of more than 250,000 pounds of food.

From Secretary of State

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