A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Secretary of State leads Board of Elections in move to require voter-verified paper trails in Kentucky

The State Board of Elections on the recommendation of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Tuesday moved to require all future election equipment purchased in Kentucky to provide a voter-verified paper trail.

“The Board of Elections takes the integrity of our Kentucky elections very seriously, and we want Kentucky voters to be assured that their votes count and the results are accurate,” said Grimes, chair of the Board. “In a time when bad actors and misinformation campaigns try to undermine confidence in our democratic process, making sure voters can verify their vote is critical to building up and protecting our process.”

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Most Kentucky counties already allow voters to cast votes with a paper trail. Many also utilize paperless direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines that provide accessibility features to allow voters with disabilities to cast ballots independently and privately.

In recent months, though, members of the Department of Homeland Security, cybersecurity experts, and researchers have called into question the ability of DRE voting machines to provide an adequate method for auditing vote counts as well as the machines’ cybersecurity integrity.

The Board also called on the Kentucky General Assembly and Congress to provide funding to upgrade Kentucky’s voting machines starting with allocating the remaining funds due to the Commonwealth under the Help America Vote Act.

“This move sends a clear message that all future equipment purchased in Kentucky must meet this standard that voters expect,” Grimes said.

The Board on Tuesday also unanimously approved a resolution highlighting its pledge to strengthen the security of Kentucky’s election processes by reaffirming its partnership with CyberScout, an industry-leading cybersecurity firm.

Since last year, CyberScout has spent countless hours conducting meetings with the State Board of Elections, its staff and county clerks, as well as inspecting election equipment and monitoring elections to assess and audit Kentucky’s procedures and processes.

“The security of Kentucky’s elections is the top priority for the Board of Elections. Our members expressed unequivocally today that CyberScout is a vital partner in the work we do to ensure our elections are carried out in a secure and effective manner,” said Grimes.

From Secretary of State

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