Secretary of State: Kentucky leads nation in election integrity

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, July 28, 2022

JOHN REITMAN

editor@amnews.com

With election season on the horizon, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams reassured voters that significant investments have been made to ensure election integrity throughout the state.

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams.

“We have gone from the 40s to the top 10,” Adams said when asked where Kentucky’s voting system ranks nationwide for ensuring a fraud-free election during a July 21 Bell County Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Pineville.

Election reform was among Adams’ top priorities when he took office in 2020. He worked to include an early voting period that also requires proof of voter identification before anyone can pull a lever.

“We made it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Adams said.

“It has nothing to do with politics. I just want to know that you are who you say you are.”

Other measures include the legislature’s passage of two key bills into law.

House Bill 564 requires early voting locations must be open for 8 hours, adds 6 days of in-person absentee voting before early voting starts, makes it a felony to connect voting machines to the Internet and includes legal protections of election workers from harassment and intimidation.

Senate Bill 216 doubles number of counties subjected to post-election audit, moves up full transition to paper ballots to January 1, 2024 and places voting machines under video surveillance when not in operation.

“There are more ways to vote, and that means we have to have surveillance of voting machines when people are not around voting,” Adams said. “When early voting happens, what happens to these machines at night? They are in church basements and other buildings for days. We have video surveillance only when they are off, not when people are voting. We also have surveillance on drop boxes.”

Adams said when he took office Kentucky’s voting equipment and processes were in the bottom 10 nationwide. Today, he says, Kentucky is near the top in ensuring fair and accurate elections.

The state has committed $25 million to upgrade its election equipment and processes. That is on top of another $20 million in federal funds since 2020.

“I think everyone can agree,” Adams said, “we need to invest in up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment that is hack-proof and secure and counts every vote accurately.”