NewsCovering Kentucky


'This is about risk assessment': Secretary of State Adams discusses election reform, security

Posted at 2:52 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 09:44:47-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky Sec. of State Michael Adams has felt Kentucky’s elections needed updating long before he took office last year.

“We haven’t had change to our election process since 1891, so literally since the horse and buggy era,” he said on Wednesday morning from the downtown LFUCG office.

Adams visited Lexington less than one hour after witnessing the signing of HB-574 by Gov. Andy Beshear in Frankfort. The bill includes several changes to the way we vote, some of which were "test-driven" during the pandemic.

Adams detailed seven major differences written into HB-574:

  • Expands the days to vote from one day to four, including a Saturday.
  • Provides for voting centers so that voters can vote conveniently from a central location regardless of where they live in a county.
  • Keeps the absentee ballot portal that worked so well in 2020.
  • Allows further steps to clean up our voter rolls.
  • Bans ballot harvesting.
  • Allows Kentucky to use paper ballots that we can record electronically.

Another critical component of the bill centers around keeping elections secure, mostly in cyberspace.

“Cybersecurity is an issue you can never take your eye off the ball on. My predecessor labored over that issue, and I have as well,” Adams said, while referring to the previous secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Adams said the security enhancements have nothing to do with any potential compromises during the last election cycle.

“This is about risk assessment. Just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen in the future,” Adams said.

“Yubikey” is a device that will be provided to county clerks across the state at no cost to each county so that those who have access to secure election data will be required to go through a two-step authentication process before logging on.

“Everybody needs to be able to vote and to believe that it is secure,” said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, who joined Adams for his announcement today.

“One of the issues I discussed while running for this office was my sense we needed to enhance cybersecurity,” Adams explained.

That’s just one of many enhancements, or changes he felt were 130 years past due.