Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ initiatives to protect military and overseas voters’ voting rights were signed into law on April 5, 2013, followed by a ceremony recognizing the bill’s passage on April 23, 2013.

The legislation was sponsored by Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) and designated as Senate Bill 1 in the 2013 Regular Session of the General Assembly. The new law will allow military and overseas citizens to register to vote and update their registration online, ensure that military and overseas voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections and extend existing protections to state and local elections and National Guard members.

The bill also creates a task force to consider other improvements to military and overseas voting procedures, including Grimes’ recommendation to permit military and overseas voters to return executed ballots via a secure electronic transmission system.

“Senate Bill 1 is a step forward in ensuring Kentucky’s 65,000 active military members, their families and Kentucky’s 350,000 veterans’ voting rights are preserved,” said Grimes. “I saw firsthand in the Middle East our military’s commitment to the Commonwealth and our nation. I respect them deeply, and as Chief Election Official I will continue to work on their behalf to ensure no military or overseas voter ever has to question whether his or her vote counts.”

Senate Bill 1 is one of six items in Grimes’ legislative agenda passed into law this session. House Bill 203, sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville) and enacted in conjunction with Senate Bill 1, keeps confidential until after an election the identities of absentee voters, protecting their ability to vote privately and maintaining the integrity of elections.

Similarly, House Bill 222 allows victims of domestic violence to have their personal information redacted from publicly available voter registration records, ensuring that no Kentuckian will be discouraged from voting out of fear for his or her own safety, or the safety of his or her children. Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Louisville) sponsored the legislation, with 18 other Representatives, including a majority of the women in the House, signing on as co-sponsors to create the address confidentiality program.

“We achieved these important election-law successes by working together with members of the General Assembly,” said Grimes. “These new laws will empower all eligible Kentuckians, protect their right to vote and help make sure everyone’s voice is heard.”

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