The1st meeting of the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs of the Interim Joint Committee on State Government was held on Tuesday, August 25, 2009, 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 Forgy Kerr, John Schickel, Elizabeth Tory, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Larry Clark, James R. Comer Jr., Joseph M. Fischer, Mike Harmon, Melvin B. Henley, Mary Lou Marzian, and Ron Weston.
Guests: Trey Grayson, Secretary of State; Sarah Ball Johnson, Executive Director, State Board of Elections.
LRC Staff: Judy Fritz, Greg Woosley, Bill VanArsdall, Alisha Miller, Karen Powell, and Terisa Roland.
The Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs held its first 2009 Interim meeting.
Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Sarah Ball Johnson, Executive Director of the State Board of Elections, gave updates on the new candidate filing guide, the voting equipment used in each county, and the maintenance activities on the statewide voter registration database.
First on the agenda Secretary Grayson reported that the candidate filing guide, titled Declaring Your Candidacy: Ballot Access Procedural Manual, has been completely updated for the 2010 election cycle. He noted that his office placed an emphasis on making the updated guide very user friendly – so that first-time candidates could readily find the requirements of getting their name on the ballot for any office, especially the many local offices up for election in 2010. A copy of the manual was provided to the Committee which can be found in the LRC library.
The second item on the agenda was an update on the voting equipment used in each county. Secretary Grayson and Ms. Johnson reported that the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) monies have been widely used by the counties to update voting equipment. Of particular note was a large change from older lever voting machines to federally mandated handicap accessible machines and more modern optical scanner machines, with the number of counties using lever machines down to 20 (at present) from 87 (as recently as the 2008 Primary).
Representative Clark asked about difficulties in counties with the new machines. Secretary Grayson said there was a calibration problem in Hardin County, but that it was corrected and the paper backup confirmed the results. He also noted that other minor issues occurred due to the unfamiliar equipment but that these issues were minimal and would likely be eliminated with familiarity.
Secretary Grayson and Ms. Johnson addressed the final item on the agenda – voter registration list maintenance activities to the statewide voter registration database. Secretary Grayson stated that a little more than 118,000 names were removed from the database between October 2006 and October 2008, with deceased registrants and inactive voters making up approximately 108,000 of the total. Secretary Grayson also reported that his office participated with eight other states in data match projects in 2008 and 2009 to identify Kentucky voters that have registered to vote in other states, and that they hope to expand this program in 2010. A copy of the presentation can be found in the LRC library.
Representative Fischer asked if Kentucky received e-mail messages from other states regarding duplicate voter registrants. Secretary Grayson said 7-states share voter data, but that his office is continually working to increase electronic sharing of voter data.
Chairman Thayer said the next meeting date would be September 22, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.
Chairman Thayer concluded all Business and the meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.