The3rd meeting of the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government was held on Tuesday, November 25, 2008, at 1:00 PM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Damon Thayer, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Damon Thayer, Co-Chair; Representative Darryl T. Owens, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Ernie Harris, Alice Fogy Kerr, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Kevin D. Bratcher, Larry Clark, Tim Firkins, Joseph M. Fischer, Mike Harmon, Melvin B. Henley, Mary Lou Marzian, and John Will Stacy.
Guests: Trey Grayson, Secretary of State; Sarah Ball Johnson, State Board of Elections; Roger Barrett, Harp Enterprises.
LRC Staff: Judy Fritz, Bill VanArsdall, and Terisa Roland.
Senator Thayer asked for approval of the October 28, 2008 minutes, and they were approved.
Secretary of State Trey Grayson, and Sarah Ball Johnson, State Board of Elections, gave an update on the General Election.
Secretary Grayson said a voter registration record was set with almost 2.9 million registered voters in Kentucky. He said there were a few issues at sites; but nothing like in other states. There was some duplication of new cards.
Secretary Grayson said the State Board of Elections conducted 15 hours of training with the county clerks since the May Primary. There were 14,800 poll workers throughout Kentucky on Election Day. There were 30 new clerks this year running their first Presidential General Election and three new clerks running their first election.
Secretary Grayson said Kentucky set a record number of absentee voting ballots – 116,000 in the General Election, and 75,000 were in person. Just before the election, a social security master index was purchased which included 80 million names of those that had died. There were about 28,000 names of deceased registered voters in Kentucky found on the list. Most of them that had died were no longer living in Kentucky.
Secretary Grayson said on Election Day the lines were the longest in the morning. He said the calls to the State Board of Elections were typical for Election Day and there were very few voting machine issues. A record was set with the total number of Kentucky voters being approximately 1,825,000.
Secretary Grayson said the major issues were in Kenton and Hardin Counties which were found to be programming errors. He stated it was only the third error since using Harper Enterprises and that they had apologized for the error.
Secretary Grayson also said there will be more attempts to federalize elections. Some of the issues will be early voting, mandated voter-verified paper ballots at the federal level, and voter registration issues. He said Congress will look at military and overseas voters getting ballots to and from overseas.
Sarah Ball Johnson, State Board of Elections, gave some statistics on military voting. She said the Board of Elections has created a web page as of July 1, 2008 for overseas citizens to use. There have been 1,900 visits to the site. The board is very pleased with the progress and will reevaluate the site looking for ways Kentucky can help overseas voters. There were 314 e-mail votes.
Ms. Johnson also discussed housekeeping legislation to cleanup and strengthen the future elections.
James Lewis, Leslie County Clerk was welcomed to the meeting.
Representative Marzian questioned the two races in Hardin County and asked if they had actual paper ballots?
Secretary Grayson said after a December hearing they will know the outcome of the race, and that there is a way to compare the number of images from the two machines though there are no paper ballots. He said that the machines had not been checked out prior to the election. However, Secretary Grayson stated he trusts the electronic machines Kentucky has used for almost 20 years.
Representative Stacy asked about the machines in Hardin County.
Secretary Grayson explained the voting machine. There was discussion on bringing the different types of voting machines for the committee to view.
Roger Baird, President of Harp Enterprises, said he takes care of the voting systems in 96 counties in Kentucky and stated he has worked in this process for 25 years. Mr. Baird discussed the images on the voting machines that are in question.
Representative Fischer asked about the statue that was violated by poll workers pre-scanning the votes. There was discussion on KRS 117.205, the statue that deals with machine malfunction and the integrity of the ballots.
Representative Harmon made the statement that every vote does count and feels the situation in Hardin County has been taken care of.
Representative Owens asked if rules would be in place to make sure the malfunction would not occur again.
Representative Stacy asked if it was illegal to stand around the polls during Election Day after a person had voted.
Ms. Johnson said there is a statue that establish who is allowed in the polling room on Election Day.
Representative Stacy also asked if a person’s bar code is scanned to determine when a voter had voted during the day. Secretary Grayson said the scanner does not indicate the voters in any particular order.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:45.
A tape of this meeting can be found in the Legislative Research Commission library.