Kentucky GOP candidate files ethics complaint over voter registration of homeless

lack of addresses sparks ethics complaint

jbrammer@herald-leader.comJuly 15, 2011 

Bill Johnson

FRANKFORT — Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for secretary of state, filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Secretary of State Elaine Walker and the State Board of Elections over voter registration of homeless people.

Johnson, a Todd County businessman and educator, contends Walker and the board are violating the Kentucky Constitution by allowing people who don't have addresses to register to vote.

He says the elections board was wrong June 30 when it notified county clerks they could register voters who have no addresses.

The board said applications should be approved if they have "homeless" or "place to place" listed as addresses.

Walker, who is chairwoman of the elections board, was not available for comment.

"The homeless, like all Americans, have the right to vote," Johnson said in his complaint. "However, to exercise that right to vote, all persons must register using the voter registration form and meet residency and precinct requirements."

Johnson said during an interview that he does not oppose voting by the homeless but said they should have to list addresses, even if those addresses are of shelters.

If all voters aren't required to have specific addresses, Johnson said, elections could be open to fraud.

The campaign of Johnson's Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has said she doesn't think homeless people have to list a specific address to vote.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission will meet Sept. 19, when it will decide what action, if any, to take on Johnson's complaint.

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