Politics & Government

Online voter registration comes to Kentucky

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, at podium, announces online voter registration in Kentucky with former Secretaries of State Bob Babbage and Elaine Walker and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, at podium, announces online voter registration in Kentucky with former Secretaries of State Bob Babbage and Elaine Walker and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. By Jack Brammer jbrammer@herald-leader.com

Kentuckians can now register to vote online.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes touted the state’s new online registration system, GoVoteKy.com, Monday at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

Grimes, the state's chief election official, said Kentucky voters also can use the system to change their existing registration information, such as political party affiliation.

Before, Kentuckians had to register to vote or change voting information by mail or in person using voter registration cards.

The new system will be more convenient, said Grimes, noting that 30 states already have online registration.

The system was activated March 1.

“Already, a 93-year-old went online to update her registration,” Grimes said.

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw, who attended the news conference, said about 100,000 voters in Jefferson County have used the new system in the last 10 days to either register or to update their registration.

Grimes said staff from her office and the State Board of Elections started developing the website last year and the board’s information technology team built it at no extra cost to the state.

She said last fall that the system was expected to cost about $45,000 to $50,000 to implement and that money from the federal Help America Vote Act Fund would help with the costs.

Grimes said the system is secure and that anyone who submits fraudulent information could be charged with a crime.

To register, a person must enter his or her name, Social Security number and birth date.

As required by law, users must also provide their signature, either digitally or with their driver’s license.

The registrant’s information is sent to their county clerk’s office, which will process and approve each update or new registration and then send confirmation to the voter.

All five former living Kentucky secretaries of state endorse the new registration system, Grimes said.

The state elections board last year unanimously approved an administrative regulation to allow online registration.

Grimes presented a similar proposal to the state legislature in 2014, but lawmakers did not act on it.

Grimes is to begin a tour of state universities Wednesday to educate and register voters prior to the state’s April 18 registration deadline for this May’s primary elections.

She also is encouraging Kentuckians to tell their state legislators to vote this year for House Bill 290, which would allow early voting in Kentucky without an excuse.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics

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