LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - A new initiative to protect Kentuckians from potential voter suppression during next week’s primary election was announced Wednesday by Attorney General Andy Beshear.
Beshear said voter-suppression laws are springing up across the nation to disproportionately exclude low-income, minority and disabled voters, so Kentucky must have a sustained commitment to fight such laws. A section of his civil branch will focus on monitoring and possibly challenging any unconstitutional laws passed in Kentucky that could disenfranchise voters across the state.
During a press conference at the Louisville Urban League Office, Beshear said he and other attorneys general are involved in fighting new voter suppression laws that are currently before the US Supreme Court.
“One is a challenge to Ohio’s voter registration purge law, which allows them to kick anyone off voter rolls who hasn’t voted in the last two years,” Beshear said. “The other is the Texas redistricting case where, for years, they have used partisanship alone to draw districts where anyone who disagrees with those who are in power has their voice and their vote suppressed.”
During the event, Beshear pointed out Kentucky had a history of being a leader for civil rights. “We cannot allow Kentucky to step back, to fall behind from our storied history to become yet another state that tries to suppress the voices of our citizens.”
Sadiqa Reynolds, president and chief executive officer of the Louisville Urban League, said voter intimidation at the polls should never be taken lightly. “We should not be pushed out made to think that our vote does not matter,” she said. “We should not allow anything that inhibits the right to vote. We must use our voices, and the best way to do that is to vote.”
Dee Pregliasco, president of the Louisville League of Women Voters, urged everyone to get and vote Tuesday. “Our percentage of voting, both in our country and our commonwealth, should make us feel ashamed. We need to make sure that people can get to the polls and that they’re not turned away.”
To protect the integrity of the electoral process, Beshear says his office coordinates election monitoring with the State Board of Elections, Secretary of State’s Office, Kentucky State Police, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, for all primary, general and special elections.
They also maintain the Election Fraud Hotline (800-328-VOTE). They answer calls on a daily basis throughout the year, with an expanded presence on primary and general election days.
In addition to phone calls on the dedicated hotline and the special prosecutions’ direct line, Beshear says the office also receives election complaints by mail and email. Staff reviews those complaints and, when appropriate, refers them for further action.