Under Amended Electronic Voting Bill, Kentucky Military Voters Would Have to Snail Mail Ballots

Kentucky military personnel could get their election ballots electronically—but the ballots would have to be printed and returned to county clerks via snail mail, under changes made to a bill Thursday in a state Senate committee meeting.

The bill—a priority for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes—originally called for military personnel to be able to get and return ballots electronically.

Senate President Robert Stivers, the bill’s sponsor, said concerns for the security of completed ballots returned electronically led him to amend the legislation.

The bill, as amended, advanced Thursday through the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection committee to the senate floor.

Grimes said she is certain ballots can be securely returned electronically and urged lawmakers to nix the amendment.

“The electronic return of an executed ballot is a key component to having access to the ballot box for our men and women in uniform,” Grimes said.

Several senators implied they would try to change the bill back to allow electronic sending both to and from military personnel. 

That change to traditional mail on return was supported by a few county clerks in attendance, including Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr.

“Although having uniform election laws is a nice goal for the United States, the truth is each state has its own systems and constitutions to deal with. Ours is no different,” Blevins said. “We’ll need to modify the bill so that it matches well with local law and process and procedures so our elections continue to prosecuted the way they need to be done.”

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