Posted: Sep 19, 2012 12:50 PM
FRANKFORT (AP) - Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes called on lawmakers Wednesday to pass legislation to ensure that Kentucky soldiers deployed overseas can cast ballots back home.
One commonsense measure Grimes proposed would allow soldiers to return absentee ballots via email, lifting a requirement that they be send back via the U.S. Postal Service.
Grimes said during a Capitol press conference that soldiers serving on the frontlines don't always have easy access to mail.
"They represent duty, honor, sacrifice and, most importantly, love of freedom," Grimes said. "They deserve the best from their elected officials. ... As Kentucky's chief elections officer, it has, will and continues to be a priority for me to make sure that we keep our ballot box open to all eligible Kentuckians, that we offer equal access especially to our men and women in uniform."
Grimes said email is the most reliable method of reaching soldiers serving overseas. And she said security controls, including electronic signatures, can ensure ballot integrity.
"Registering to vote and obtaining an absentee ballot can be burdensome," Grimes said. "Mail is not reliable ... It can be weeks before a ballot ever reaches one of our men or women in uniform."
Last month, one of Grimes' staff attorneys, Lynn Sowards Zellen, reached a court settlement in a lawsuit that gave troops more time to vote by absentee ballots ahead three upcoming special elections. Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd approved the settlement that gave soldiers extra time they need to vote in the special 4th District congressional race between Republican Thomas Massie and Democrat Bill Adkins, as well as two special state legislative races.
Freshly back from a trip to the Middle East, Grimes said members of the military who are risking their lives abroad must be ensured the right to vote in elections back home.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)