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Election Law @ Moritz Home Page

Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


2008 Key Questions for Key States

Kentucky

The complete research by Election Law @ Moritz for Kentucky can be found below.

Institutional Arrangements

State Chief Election Authorities

Bipartisan appointed board

Chief election authority: State Board of Elections. KRS § 117.015.

Method of selection: Six members are appointed by the governor on and are evenly split between the two major political parties. KRS § 117.015. The seventh member of the Secretary of State, an elected official. Const. § 91.

Current officer: Trey Grayson (R). Legislator nudges court on election, Sarasota Herald Tribune, January 8, 2007. (Last updated 1/1/08)

State High Court Composition

Unknown affiliation/elected

Method of selection: Nonpartisan election. Const. § 117.

Justices: Joseph E. Lambert (R), John D. Minton, Jr. (appointed by R), Lisabeth Hughes Abramson (appointed by R), Will Schroder (no info), Mary C. Noble (D), Bill Cunningham (no info), Will T. Scott (R) (Last updated 12/21/07)

Sources:

  • Black Robes Wait in Wings on Budget Fight, Cincinnati Post, April 21, 2004.
  • New Supreme Court lacks a purely liberal or conservative justice, Lexington Herald-Leader (KY), November 10, 2006.
  • Irony or hypocrisy (Editorial), Lexington Herald-Leader, October 2, 2007.
  • Transcript of ABC 36 WTVQ (Lexington) news broadcast, November 2, 2006, 2006 WLNR 19088394.
  • Police Union Backs Chandler, Cincinnati Post, August 9, 1995.  

Voter Registration

EL@M did not research this topic for Kentucky

Challenges

EL@M did not research this topic for Kentucky

Provisional Ballots

EL@M did not research this topic for Kentucky

Early and Absentee Voting

Convenience Voting

Early voting and "excuse" absentee voting

Kentucky conducts early voting at least 12 days before the election.  KRS 117.085. Any qualified voter who will be absent from the county on any election day may "make an application in person to the county clerk to vote on a voting machine in the county clerk's office or other place designated by the county board of elections and aproved by the State Board of Elections."  The statute explicitly allows members of the Armed Forces, dependents of the Armed Forces, and citizens residing overseas to voter early in person.  Students who temporarily reside outside of the county of their residence, voters who will be hospitalized on election day, voter who change thier place of residence to a different state while the registration books are closed in the new state of residence before a presidential election, members of the county and State board of elections and their staff, precinct officers, deputy county clerks, and pregnant women in their third trimester may also vote early. 

Updated on 11/4/08

Voting Technology

EL@M did not research this topic for Kentucky

Polling Place Operations

Polling hours extension

Extensions probably not permitted

Votes cast after the time prescribed by law for the close of polls are invalid. Boone v. Humphrey, 349 S.W.2d 822, 823 (Ky.App., 1961); Bishop v. Smith, 350 S.W.2d 494, 496 (Ky.App., 1961). This seems to suggest that extension of polling hours is not permitted.

An earlier case says that the entire vote of a precinct will be thrown out if voting is allowed to occur after the time that is required by law for the close of polls. Banks v. Sergent, 48 S.W. 149 (Ky.App. 1898)(overruled on other grounds). It is highly unlikely that this rule would be applied by modern courts.

Voting hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. KRS 118.035.

Voters standing in line at the close of polls may vote. KRS 118.035.

Polling place closing times - local times

6:00 PM local time

Polling place closing times - by Eastern time zone

7:00 PM Eastern time

Half of Kentucky lies in the Eastern time zone and polls there close at 6:00 PM Eastern time. 

Ballot Security

EL@M did not research this topic for Kentucky

Emergency Preparedness

EL@M did not research this topic for Kentucky

Post-Election Processes

Election Contest Scenario #1: Unverified Ballots

Unclear

Voters are required to sign in prior to voting. §25-2908. However, the statutes do not order election judges to remove unverified ballots, as in some states, and no information was found regarding whether unverified ballots are ineligible to be counted. §§25-3001 et seq.

Assuming, however, that unverified ballots are ineligible, the proper remedy is to withdraw them from the count. Sims v. Atwell, 556 S.W.2d 929, 937 (Ky.App., 1977). Unfortunately, this is frequently impossible because the ballots are inseparably commingled with legal ballots. In this case, courts in some states with reduce the vote totals of each affected candidate according to the proportion of the vote they obtained in the precinct. However, Kentucky courts have criticized this practice as “unsafe.” Napier v. Cornett, 68 S.W. 1076, 1077 (Ky.App., 1902). Instead, the general rule in a commingled ballots case is that the court will throw out the entire vote of the precinct where 20% or more of the ballots are shown to be illegal - and the court otherwise will not disturb the result. Gross v. Ball, 81 S.W.2d 409, 412 (Ky.App. 1935).

Election Contest Scenario #2: Provisional Ballots with Technical Mistakes

Unclear

Provisional voters are supposed to sign an affirmation providing the individual’s name, address, political party affiliation, statements that the individual is registered and eligible, and other information. 31 KY ADC 6:020. Administrative regulations indicate that the ballot should be counted if officials determine the individual was eligible to vote in the precinct. Id. No information was found regarding whether and under what circumstances voter error would prevent a provisional ballot from counting.

What Court Would Hear a Presidential Contest?

No Presidential election contest permitted

There is no Kentucky statute authorizing Presidential general election contests, only contests for other types of offices. KRS s 120.185. This means a Presidential election contest could not be had under the current law. Thieman v. Hancock, 296 Ky. 223, 226 (Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 1943).

However, recounts may be had in federal primary elections as part of an election contest. KRS s 120.095. In Kentucky, recounts are performed by the local circuit court, a type of trial court. KRS s 120.095. The Franklin County Circuit Court is specified for statewide election issues. KRS §§ 120.055 and 120.155. Circuit court judges are elected in nonpartisan elections. Ky. Const. s 117. 

Who Performs Presidential recounts?

No Presidential recount allowed

There is no Kentucky statute authorizing recounts in federal general elections outside of an election contest. Furthermore, Kentucky statutes do not authorize courts to hear Presidential election contests. KRS s 120.185. This means a Presidential recount could not be had under the current law. Thieman v. Hancock, 296 Ky. 223, 226 (Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 1943).

However, recounts may be had in federal primary elections as part of an election contest. KRS s 120.095. In Kentucky, recounts are performed by the local circuit court, a type of trial court. KRS s 120.095. Circuit court judges are elected in nonpartisan elections. Ky. Const. s 117. The law does not explicitly state who may be present to observe such a recount.

The State Board of Elections’ website provides no additional information.