A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sec. of State Adams says state, local officials assure Nov. 8 election is secure; early voting starts today

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams says both state and local officials have been working to ensure the Nov. 8 general election is secure, especially when there is early voting taking place.
In an interview with Kentucky Today on Tuesday, Adams said there have been a lot of changes since he took office in 2020, hundreds of pages worth. Most of them are very technical, but they do improve the security of the ballot boxes and scanners during early voting days.

“One example would be putting video surveillance on ballot boxes, when they’re not being voted in,” he said. “We don’t want people surveilled while they’re voting, obviously, but we do want to have surveillance on these boxes because now, with multiple days, we don’t just wheel them out and wheel them back in. We have to have a process to make sure they are adequately supervised, when voting isn’t going on overnight.”

Another change is fewer polling places, in favor of better ones that are larger with more parking available, and that are ADA compliant. Each county came up with their own location plans, which were then approved by the State Board of Elections.

“Our elections are secure,” Adams said. “I maintain they have never been more secure than they are today. What we’ve learned, and what we’re telling other states now, is that you can make your elections accessible and secure, simultaneously.”

Adams, a Republican, said separate bills dealing with ballot access and security passed the General Assembly this year with wide bipartisan support. “As far as I know, we are the only state in America where the Democrats came together to vote for better security. And I think that is what has made Kentucky so special the last few years, and an example to the rest of the country, is you can do both at the same time, in a bipartisan way.”

Combatting misinformation regarding voter suppression and election security is something Adams has been involved in and says local county clerks have been a big factor in responding to the peoples’ concerns, since they are closer to the people than state or federal officials.

However, he is also being proactive. “If we hear goofy rumors, we call them out, and we have our own Snopes page on our website, where we address it and disprove it. We get a lot of traffic and compliments on our rumor control site. We also use social media pretty actively to respond.”

The rumor control page is https://www.sos.ky.gov/elections/Pages/Rumor-Control.aspx.

While Franklin County Clerk Jeff Hancock is predicting a 60% turnout in his county, Adams believes statewide it will be somewhere between 45-50%.

“We have what I call a ‘barbell ballot’ this time,” he said. “You have a U.S. Senate race at the top of the ballot and you have Constitutional Amendment 2 at the bottom of the ballot. Those two things are the primary drivers, I think.”

He pointed out the legislative, county, judge, and city races in the middle of the ballot are all important. 

“They get lost in the clutter of the Senate race television ads and the Amendment 2 ads. Those two will drive the turnout, but the question is how will they drive it?”
Adams notes the majority of mail-in absentee ballot requests came from registered Democrats, while most early in-person absentee voting has been among Republicans.

No excuse, in-person voting takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check with your county clerk for hours and locations. There is no voting on Monday, so the county clerks can prepare for election day.
He adds his office and the Attorney General’s office will continue having an election integrity working group to ensure the election is a clean one.

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