A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Adams applauds legislation that would make some voting law changes from 2020 election permanent

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams is applauding legislation that would make permanent some of the changes implemented for the 2020 primary and general elections, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, and Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy, are each sponsoring similar legislation in their respective chambers.

Secretary of State Michael Adams likes lawmakers making some voting laws permanent with legislation. (Kentucky Today file photo)

“This is the most significant election reform legislation in the past quarter-century,” Adams said. “I’m grateful to Senator Adams and Representative Decker for their leadership. Kentuckians across party lines embraced many features of last year’s elections, especially expanded in-person voting. It’s the General Assembly’s prerogative to make our election laws, and now I hope they will exercise their authority to make permanent improvements to our election system.”

Adams, who has often said he wants to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, says the two bills will make Kentucky’s elections more accessible and more secure in several ways:

• Creating four days of early in-person voting, including a Saturday, with no excuse required.

• Enhancing the ability of state election officials to remove nonresident voters from the voter rolls.

• Transitioning toward universal paper ballots, statewide.

• Permitting counties to establish vote centers, where any voter in the county may vote regardless of precinct.

• Keeping the online voter portal, so absentee balloting is fully transparent both to voters and election officials.

• Expressly prohibiting and penalizing ballot harvesting.

• Retaining the signature cure process, so absentee voters whose signatures have changed over time have a chance to prove identity and have their ballots counted.

• Allowing registered voters who are not registered as Democrats or Republicans to serve as poll workers.

Adams says the bills were drafted following extensive consultation with his office, the State Board of Elections and county clerks, with both Democrats and Republicans at the table.

Decker’s bill, HB 574, is scheduled to be heard on the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on Thursday. Raque Adams’ version, SB 259, has not yet had a hearing scheduled.

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