Call to Order and Roll Call
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, October 26, 2010, 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 Walter Blevins Jr., Alice Forgy Kerr, John Schickel, Elizabeth Tori, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Larry Clark, James R. Comer Jr., Joseph M. Fischer, Mike Harmon, and Mary Lou Marzian.
Guests: Katie Gabhart, General Counsel of the Kentucky State Board of Elections; Robert Neace, Boone County Attorney.
Approval of Minutes
Upon motion by Representative Mike Harmon and second by Senator Alice Forgy Kerr, the minutes of the September 28, 2010 meeting were approved without objection.
Review of Election Contest, Recanvass, and Recount Procedures
Katie Gabhart, General Counsel of the Kentucky State Board of Elections, gave the Task Force a review of current election contest, recanvass, and recount procedures. Ms. Gabhart also summarized several recent recounts in Kentucky counties, as well as Kentucky Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals’ opinions on what votes are required to be counted in a recount process. Ms. Gabhart distributed a handout summarizing the current Kentucky procedures and mentioned Legislative Research Commission Research Report No. 158, 1979, which studied Kentucky’s election contest and recount procedures and gave recommended changes. Senator Thayer asked that a copy of the Report be distributed to all members of the Task Force.
A copy of the handout summarizing the current Kentucky procedures can be found in the Legislative Research Commission library.
Additionally, Robert Neace, Boone County Attorney, gave the Task Force a report on his experience with an election recount in the May 2010 primary for Boone County Judge Executive. Mr. Neace offered his opinions on what worked well in the recount process and a few areas to be considered by the Task Force for potential future legislation. Specifically, Mr. Neace stated that the recount verified that the machines recorded the vote very accurately, but he noted that the Boone Circuit Court judge had his clerks do the majority of the counting and that the process took too long.
Several members of the Task Force posed questions and voiced their opinions and concerns, as well as asked both Ms. Gabhart and Mr. Neace for suggested changes. The primary change recommended by Ms. Gabhart was to establish some defined parameters that would govern a recount and establish that all votes would be counted in a recount rather than only selected precincts or votes.
Business concluded, and the meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.