TRUTH - Kentucky's Elections Are More Accessible to Voters than Ever Before
Last year, dishonest and irresponsible allegations that Kentucky election officials were engaged in “voter suppression" went viral, leading to thousands of hostile callers who jammed election officials' phone lines and, in some cases, led to verbal abuse and even death threats against these officials. Record voter turnout in the primary and general elections disproved these falsehoods, but sadly, they continue.
Kentucky election officials have not engaged in voter suppression and Kentuckians are not “disenfranchised."
In 2020, for the first time since 1891, Kentucky extended in-person voting days beyond just one; it also made absentee ballots accessible. In 2021, the General Assembly made many of 2020's pro-voter changes permanent through bipartisan election reform legislation that has been praised nationwide.
TRUTH – Kentucky Does Not Allow Voting Machines to Connect to the Internet
No Kentucky voting equipment is ever connected to the Internet. Votes are tabulated by the County Board of Elections using a calculator. No Kentucky voting machine contains a modem -- it is not allowed by Kentucky law or certification rules.
The Internet has nothing to do with counting election totals. Tabulations of the voting machines are done by the poll workers at each of the nearly 4,000 precincts. Those results are then driven to the County Clerk's office. The County Clerk uses a computer which is NOT connected to the internet to consolidate the results. Once this has been completed, the election results are transferred to a flash drive (which is brand new for every election).
Results uploaded to the Election Night Reporting (ENR) website are UNOFFICIAL. The County Clerks manually upload the election results that have been tabulated to ENR to inform the public of the UNOFFICIAL results, much like any news station.
The election results are still not official. It is not until the review and approval of the Secretary of State and the State Board of Elections that elections are certified as final.
TRUTH – Voting Machines Are Tested for Accuracy
County Boards of Elections appoint an Accuracy Board to test every voting machine used in an election. The Accuracy Board certifies that the voting machines work as intended and accurately report votes cast. 31 KAR 2:020
The County Clerk, County Board of Elections and Precinct Election Officers maintain additional safeguards by documenting the chain of custody of machines. This includes verifying serial numbers of machines, verifying seals placed on the machines, checking counter numbers of the machines at the beginning of an election, and checking counter numbers of the machines at the end of the election. Further, the public are invited to a public examination of the machines. KRS 117.165.
Additionally, all election equipment undergoes rigorous testing prior to being purchased by election jurisdictions. This testing is performed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), voting system test laboratories (VSTLs) as well as the Kentucky State Board of Elections. All voting systems must meet standards set for accuracy, security, reliability and accessibility.
TRUTH – Paper Ballots Are Required as Counties Replace Machines
In a historic election reform bill this year, the General Assembly mandated that any election equipment purchased in the future must provide for a voter-verified paper ballot. Using federal funds procured by the Secretary of State, counties have updated nearly all of their voting machines to accommodate paper ballots. Learn more about House Bill 574 HERE. Having a voter-verified paper trail allows jurisdictions to perform audits and ensures that every ballot is counted as cast.
TRUTH – The Integrity of The Ballot is Protected
County Clerks are required to maintain a record of the number of ballots issued to each precinct and must create a ballot accountability statement. An accounting of the total number of ballots used, unused and spoiled on election day is required and attested to by the Precinct Election Officers. 31 KAR 2:010
County Boards of Elections and Precinct Election Officers are required to provide attested forms for the following:
- Certification Official County and Record of Election Totals – KRS 118.425. This is faxed to the Secretary of State's Office and signed by all members of the County Board of Elections.
- Precinct Election Sheriff's Post-Election Report – Provided to the Grand Jury and the County Clerk.
- All Voter Assistance Forms are provided to the Grand Jury.
- All Oath of Voter forms are provided to the Commonwealth's Attorney.
- List of voters issued absentee ballots is sent to the State Board of Elections. KRS 117.086.
- Absentee Ballots Grand Totals Report is sent to the State Board of Elections.
- Number of Rejected Absentee Ballots & Reasons for Rejected Ballots is sent to the State Board of Elections.
- County Board of Election Post-Election Report is sent to the Grand Jury and the State Board of Elections.
TRUTH – Election Equipment is Purchased by Each County and Must be Certified by the Election Assistance Commission and the State Board of Elections
Election equipment is certified by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and then the State Board of Elections certifies equipment from the list approved by the EAC. Currently, the State Board of Elections has only certified the following election vendors to sell their equipment: ES&S, Hart Intercivic and Microvote. Election equipment is purchased by the legislative body of each county. KRS 117.105. The EAC and SBE are agencies that contain members from the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Certification is important because it ensures that all voting systems used in Kentucky meet rigourous standards set for accuracy, security, reliability and accessibility. In fact, voting systems tested by the EAC require that systems be able to tabulate 1.5 million ballot positions without error.
TRUTH – Kentucky Citizens Verify the Vote Counts
The Precinct Election Officers – volunteers in your community, Democrats and Republicans – tabulate the election results at the precinct before returning the results, in person, to the County Board of Elections. The County Board of Elections begins to tabulate each precinct by reviewing the returns individually. Official results are not certified until weeks later to ensure all validly cast ballots have been counted.
The County Clerk, under supervision of the County Board of Elections, reports unofficial election night results. Counties use a computer that is not connected to the Internet to tabulate the unofficial election night results.
Many news sources use “runners" to get election results more quickly by sending them to precincts to write down or take pictures of the results for the posted precinct. These numbers are not official, nor are they necessarily correct. The only place to get the verified unofficial results is through the State Board of Elections Election Night Reporting webpage. The Election Night Reporting is not connected to the voting systems.
TRUTH – The Secrecy of Every Ballot is Ensured
The Kentucky Constitution requires the secrecy of each voter's ballot. The bar scans on ballots are NOT connected to the voter. The bar codes on ballots ensure that the scanners recognize the ballot style and contests to be tabulated. The grids on a paper ballot ensure the ballots are entered into the scanner correctly and allows for confirmation of the voter's intent by lining up their selections. Each of these processes goes through Logic and Accuracy testing by the County Board of Elections or 2 persons appointed by the County Board of Elections to ensure the voter's intent is captured.
TRUTH – Voting Machines Are Secure
Voting systems used in the Commonwealth of Kentucky are designed to protect against tampering, including during system storage, transport and voting. Each machine uses physical and system access controls, including lockable doors, tamper-evident seals and access codes.
TRUTH – Counting all Ballots by Hand Would Result in Fraud and Would Delay Election Results by Weeks
In order to combat fraud in hand-counting ballots, Kentucky voters amended our state constitution to allow for voting machines to be used. Returning to hand-count would lead to more fraud, and eliminate election night reporting, as weeks would be needed to count millions of ballots.
TRUTH – If a Voter Chooses to Vote a Straight Party Ticket, but then Selects A Candidate Outside the Party, The Voter's Intent is Counted.
The voter's intent is paramount. If a voter selects a person outside of straight party selection, the voter's intent to select a particular candidate is counted, and the vote is not invalidated.
TRUTH – Voters Are Not Required to Vote in Every Contest on their Ballot
This is called an undervote. Not all contests will receive the same number of votes and contests can have less than the total voters voting in a particular election.