Elections

A new report shows nearly a quarter-million Kentuckians are denied access to voting booths because of felony convictions.

The report released Tuesday by the League of Women Voters of Kentucky says the state has the third highest rate of people who lost their voting rights despite completing felony sentences. Among blacks, Kentucky has the second highest disenfranchisement rate.

The report says one of every 14 adults in Kentucky is ineligible to vote due to a felony conviction, well above the national rate.

It says Kentucky is one of four states that permanently disenfranchise all felons, even after they complete their sentences.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says she wants to make it easier for the state's military personnel to participate in elections. But a major provision is coming under fire from some groups that worry that allowing ballots cast online opens voters to fraud.

The Courier-Journal reports that the chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky delivered a letter to Grimes’ office Wednesday. The letter said the group "strongly recommend against allowing ballots to be cast online via email, efax, or through Internet portals.”

Both supporters and opponents of Tennessee’s voter ID law are pointing to newly released statewide data to bolster their positions. Nearly four out of five provisional ballots cast in the Volunteer State last November were tossed out.

The Republican-backed voter ID law was passed in 2011. Supporters say it’s an effort to ensure voter integrity and prevent election fraud. Opponents say it’s an attempt to suppress voting among traditional Democratic constituencies, including the urban poor who sometimes don’t have a government-issued photo ID.

Under the Tennessee law, those who experience trouble at the polls on Election Day are allowed to cast a provisional ballot which will be counted later if election officials determine the person casting the ballot is a legitimate voter. According to the data released this week, a little over 1,600—or 23%--of the more than 7,000 provisional ballots cast in Tennessee last November were ultimately counted.

A Nashville civil rights lawyer told The Tennessean those numbers show some voters were disenfranchised.

Kentucky to Explore Early Voting

Dec 20, 2012

Kentucky's secretary of state is planning to explore whether the state should permit early voting.

Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a news release she plans to hold meetings statewide next year to discuss whether Kentucky should change its election laws to allow early and unexcused absentee voting.

Grimes says 32 states and the District of Columbia allow such types of voting.

The dates of the meetings will be released in January.

Republican state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory has won a special election for a Senate seat from southern Kentucky, defeating Williamsburg teacher and Democrat Bill Conn by more than a 4-1 margin to replace former Sen. David Williams.

In unofficial returns from Tuesday's balloting, Gregory received 6,244 votes to 1,440 for Conn, who was making his first run for public office.

The heavily Republican 16th District includes Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties, along the southern Kentucky border. Gregory, an attorney, was elected last year to represent the 52nd House District that covers McCreary and Wayne counties and part of Pulaski County and won a second term on Nov. 6.

Owensboro homebuilder Ed Marksberry has announced that he intends to seek the Democratic nomination to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

It would be Marksberry's second run for a seat among Kentucky's federal delegation. Two years ago he was trounced in a lopsided race against U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie in the 2nd District.

If Marksberry wins, he would face long-serving Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a tenacious campaigner and fundraiser who already has banked nearly $7 million.

Abramson: I'm Not Going to Run Against McConnell

Nov 27, 2012

Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson will not be a Democratic Senate candidate in 2014, taking on the nation's most powerful Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Abramson says having served about a quarter-century as Louisville Mayor before taking on his current post, he sees himself more as an executive, than a legislator.

Democrats and Republicans have nominated candidates to run for an open Senate seat in southern Kentucky. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that officials from each political party had separate meetings on Thursday and approved the nominations of Republican state Rep. Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and Democrat Bill Conn, a teacher in Williamsburg who is making his first run for public office.

A recanvass of votes does not change the outcome of a state House race in western Kentucky. Election officials in Daviess, Union, and Henderson counties re-calculated votes Thursday and the outcome revealed the same margin of victory for the incumbent. 

Recanvass Set in Western Kentucky House Race

Nov 12, 2012

Three Western Kentucky counties will hold a recanvass of votes in a state House race decided last Tuesday where the incumbent was re-elected by the slimmest of margins.  Sturgis Democrat John Arnold beat Republican challenger Tim Kline of Owensboro by a mere five votes. 

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