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Secretary of State Calls for Urgent Attention to Kentucky Voting Laws PDF  | Print |  Email
By Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson Medi Release   
May 19, 2008
Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced today that his office and the Kentucky State Board of Elections has reason to believe that some campaigns and outside groups plan to use "poll watchers" on election day.

"Poll watchers" are representatives of a campaign or outside group who enter polling locations to determine who has already voted by looking at the precinct roster or talking to poll workers.  The campaign or group then uses that information to call supporters who have not yet shown up to vote.  This practice is used in many states around the country, but in Kentucky it is illegal.

"We have rarely seen an attempt in Kentucky to track voters at the polls using poll watchers, but this issue has risen several times this year," stated Secretary Grayson, Kentucky's Chief Election Official.  "I am hopeful that members of the media will help us spread this message so that campaigns and other active voting groups will know that election tactics such as these are prohibited in the Commonwealth."

Kentucky Law, KRS 117.235, states that no person, other than the election officers, challengers, and a minor child in the company of a voter, shall be permitted within the voting room while the vote is being polled, except for the purpose of voting or except by authority of the election officers to keep order and enforce the law.  In addition, KRS 117.236 strictly prohibits the use of paper, telephone, a personal telecommunications device, or a computer or other information technology system to create a check-off list except by appointed challengers. There are no appointed challengers in any of the 120 counties for Tuesday's election, and the deadline to appoint challengers has already passed.

The State Board of Elections has received calls about "poll watchers" in recent days.  In addition, the SBE has received a record number of requests for a list of Kentucky’s precinct locations, also an indication that these efforts might be under way.

The State Board of Elections and the Office of the Secretary of State do not have investigative or prosecutorial authority and the matter has been referred to members within the Kentucky election integrity team, including the Office of the Attorney General and U.S. Attorneys.

Voters who witness individuals recording the identity of voters within the voting room of a precinct should notify their precinct election officers and then the county clerk.  Voters are also welcome to contact the Kentucky State Board of Elections, the Office of the Attorney General, or the U.S. Attorney.

"I expect Kentucky voters to see a smooth elections process on Tuesday," remarked Grayson.  "By getting the word out about these efforts, we hope to deter any illegal efforts at the polls."
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