The4th meeting of the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government was held on Tuesday, October 23, 2007, at 1:00 PM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Darryl T. Owens, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members: Representative Darryl T. Owens, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Alice Forgy Kerr, and Elizabeth Tori; Representatives Larry Clark, Mike Harmon, Melvin B. Henley, Mary Lou Marzian, Dottie Sims, and Kathy W. Stein.
Guests: Pierce White, Jennifer Black, and Jeremy Epstein, Office of Attorney General; Sarah Ball Johnson, and Katie Gabhart, State Board of Elections.
LRC Staff: Judy Fritz, Bill VanArsdall, Terisa Roland
The minutes of the September 25, meeting were approved without objection.
Representative Owens opened the meeting by asking representatives from the Attorney General's Office to discuss an investigative report on Kentucky's electronic voting systems. (a booklet of the investigation report was provided to the committee and a copy for anyone to view will be sent to the LRC Library).
Pierce White, Deputy Attorney General stated that California and Florida have found significant problems in the voting systems that are also used in Kentucky. He stated that Kentucky needs the same fundamental improvements to their voting system as California and Florida. Mr. White said there were problems with Diebold and recommended that the State Board of Elections re-examine the machines and take security steps to make them more secure.
Jeremy Epstein, an electronic voting systems expert and a consultant to the Office of the Attorney General, relayed to the Task Force recommendations for statutory changes that he believes would strengthen the security of Kentucky's electronic voting systems, including a more rigorous testing scheme for the voting equipment.
The Attorney General would like to file a law suit against the manufacturers of the voting systems used in Kentucky, to require the manufacturers to correct problems that have been discovered in the systems, and to do so without charge.
Mr. Epstein answered questions.
Representative Owens said security concerns will be continuing problems and that the State Board of Elections needs an in-office expertise to develope safety and security policies and procedures. He would also like a Resolution to Congress to develope certification of electronic voting machines.
Sarah Ball Johnson, Executive Director and Katie Gabhart, General Council, State Board of Elections responded to the Attorney General's report by stating that the State Board of Elections follows Kentucky law to the letter. Ms. Johnson also stated that the report of the AG followed the recommendations of California's Secretary of State. Ms. Gabhart pointed out that California's election laws are not the same as the election laws of the Commonwealth. She also stated that the recommendations would be expensive to implement.
The Task Force voted to have the Co-Chairs meet with the Attorney General, and the State Board of Elections to discuss possible solutions to the situation.
The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for November 27th, but the Co-Chairs are seeking approval to meet on November 19th in Louisville.
Business was concluded at 2:15 p.m.