LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky’s Republican Secretary of State went before a House Committee on Thursday morning to present House Bill 574, which, if passed, will alter the way Kentuckians can vote.
“Our surrounding states have all done this, states around the county have done this. We’ve been in last place. With this legislation we can be in first place,” Secretary Michael Adams said after HB 574 passed through committee.
Adams took a lot of heat in the fall for working across the party aisle to draft a pandemic voting plan, which some Republicans thought allowed for too much absentee balloting, and too much expansion of the in-person voting process. Adams said he did that for the safety of all voters, and polling location workers. (His pandemic plan was very well-received by many across the nation.)
“The model we have is based on an agrarian world from 1891. We haven’t examined our laws since then,” Mr. Adams said of the reason to adopt these changes.
The bill calls for in-person voting for an additional three days on top of Election Day, including a Saturday. It allows for people to cast their votes at voting centers, which don’t have to be located within their precinct. It’ll also have an online component, which will allow the Secretary’s office, or county clerks to monitor any improprieties.
“This really enhances the security of our elections,” Mr. Adams told committee members. “Knowing the voter, the clerk, I, or any of us can go online 24/7 and verify the status of a ballot.”
Adams isn’t against the use of absentee, or mail-in balloting but due to the high cost of doing such. It’s not something he was wanting in this bill, at least not the to level it was used during the last cycle.
“I’m not someone who has a problem with absentee voting, in concept, but it needs to be monitored,” he said. “We’ve never had that in 200 years; the ability to monitor voting outside the purview of election officials,” he added, before discussing the compromises in the bill, knowing the backlash he received during the summer.
“We want a bill that can pass. This is not just a statement, or platform. We’re trying to make law here. I know folks want more in-person, more mail-in and this and that, but we want something that will pass in the senate,” he concluded.
First it’ll have to pass through the state house. A vote on HB 574 could come as early as Friday.