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Grimes, Voting Stakeholders Cheer Election Accessibility Progress, Back Early Voting

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2017) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Friday led a meeting of Kentucky's Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Advisory committee, including numerous election stakeholders. The partners met to discuss voting accessibility issues, assess current voting processes and discuss possible improvements.

"Together, we have made great strides to ensure every Kentuckian – especially those with disabilities – are able to cast their ballots independently and in private," said Grimes. "Even though 2017 was not an election year in Kentucky, we made more progress with a new law that allows voters to cast absentee ballots in-person on account of age, disability, and illness. That's something this group has been pushing for years."

The HAVA Advisory Committee again expressed support for Grimes' early voting proposal to allow no-excuse in-person absentee voting ahead of elections and encouraged legislators to pass early voting measures in 2018. Grimes' proposed measure would allow any eligible Kentucky voter to cast an absentee ballot in their clerks' office during the county's absentee window, including two Saturdays before Election Day.

At the meeting, the group also officially moved to join the National Association of Secretaries of State to urge Congress and Kentucky's congressional delegation to allocate remaining funding under HAVA. When Congress passed HAVA in 2002 to help states improve election systems, it committed $3.9 billion to states for these efforts, but fifteen years later Congress still has yet to provide $396 million of that funding. Kentucky originally received about $38 million from the first allocation after HAVA passed.

"It's critical for Congress to act – especially as states face new cybersecurity threats and voting equipment purchased with the original dollars is aging," said Grimes.

Grimes' HAVA partners include members of the State Board of Elections, Kentucky Protection & Advocacy and various organizations that advocate for voters, members of the Kentucky General Assembly, Kentucky's political parties, and state and local election officials.

Since taking office in 2012, Grimes has worked tirelessly to make sure all Kentuckians are able to vote independently and privately. She has worked with Kentucky's HAVA Advisory Committee to introduce accessibility training for precinct election officials and implement online voter registration, easing the registration process for many people with disabilities.

States are not required to hold regular HAVA meetings, but Grimes calls annual meetings – including in non-election years.

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