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Gov. Beshear takes issue with President Trump's call for supporters to observe voting

Posted at 11:19 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 23:26:02-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Millions of Americans tuned in Tuesday night to watch the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

But one comment in particular from President Trump, where he called for his supporters to observe voters during the upcoming November election, caught the attention of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

During the debate, both candidates were asked if they would encourage their supporters to remain calm during a potential waiting period for election results, caused by an influx of mail-in ballots.

"I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it," President Trump said in response.

He cited fears of voter fraud to justify this call to action, although election experts have said voter fraud is not a widespread problem.

At his briefing Wednesday, Gov. Beshear said the general public will not be allowed in polling locations to observe.

"That is not legal in Kentucky," he said. "In Kentucky you're only allowed to be in that polling location if you are a worker, if you are a kid going with that active voter or if you are a certified challenger under state law, that's KRS 117.315. To do that you have to be registered, you get training."

Gov. Beshear said that certified challengers are not allowed to harass or intimidate voters and can be asked to leave polling locations for doing so.

"We should be careful not to be spreading or not to be suggesting unlawful activity to people," Beshear said. "We are elected officials who are elected through this process and we have a duty to advise people on the right things to do in the process."

Kentucky's expanded voting protocol for the November election has been agreed upon by Secretary of State Michael Adams and Gov. Beshear.

The deadline to register to vote in the November election is October 5.