LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Election reform passed through the Kentucky legislature this spring, and some of the changes can be seen in this month's primaries.
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams said election fraud is not a problem in the state. But the two election reform bills that made it through the general assembly — House Bill 564 and Senate Bill 216 — were aimed at strengthening the voting process.
Both bills make it illegal in Kentucky for election voting machines to be connected to the internet. Adams said that's already in practice in the commonwealth, but writing it in law helps dispel future allegations.
"I think it's helpful to be able to say to a concerned constituent, 'Here, let me show you this statute,'" he said in March.
HB 564 boosts the number of days for in-person absentee early voting, requires the voter to be a U.S. citizen and further defines "election officers" to protect them from threats and intimidation. Adams said COVID-19 pandemic voting in 2020 showed voters like more in-person options other than only election day.
"What we found is voters loved it," Adams said. "On both sides, both sides loved it."
Adams said with more voting days it's only fitting there's expanded security measures.
SB 216 requires clerks switch to only paper ballots by Jan. 1, 2024. It also doubles the number of counties that get audited and it requires surveillance cameras to watch ballots overnight.
"When we just had one day to vote, you didn't need that," Adams said. "You just rolled the machines out and rolled them back in and you were done. Now that we have three days of early voting and six days of in-person absentee voting plus election day — 10 days of voting — we can't just leave these things lying around."
This measure would go into effect in July, so it gives clerks not in compliance time to do so. Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw said there's several cameras at the election locations in Jefferson County and security officers.
"There's nothing in our equipment that is hooked to the internet," she said Tuesday. "There's no modems in the equipment. We carry a paper ballot and we keep those paper ballots for almost two years."
Adams said having statewide laws like SB 216 help dispel any conspiracies.
"We've stood up against that," he said. "We have built a bipartisan coalition of sheriffs, county clerks and others, election officials to stand up and say, 'That's false.' No matter what party you are, don't buy that stuff. Don't be gullible."
In 2020, ballots could be postmarked and counted after, but that's not allowed anymore. Absentee ballots sent in the mail have to be in hand by election day at 6 pm.
Registered voters should get a postcard in the mail about their designated in-person voting location. Early in-person voting without an excuse is available at six locations in Jefferson County on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at six locations:
- The Jeffersonian, 10617 Taylorsville Road, Jeffersontown, KY 40299
- Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Louisville KY 40203
- Broadbent Arena at the Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Lane, Louisville KY 40209
- Sun Valley Community Center, 6505 Bethany Lane, Louisville KY 40272
- Triple Crown Pavilion, 1780 Plantside Drive, Louisville KY 40299
- Mary Queen of Peace, 4017 Dixie Highway, Louisville KY 40216
Traditional Election Day voting goes from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. To find polling places, click here.
- Voting options in Jefferson County expand for 2022 Primary Election
- Kentucky legislature moves forward with 2 election reform bills
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