COMMENTARY

House Dems need to let election contest process run its course

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The General Assembly kicked off Tuesday with the typical pomp and circumstance expected on day one of a regular session after an election. There was a sense of joy from the new members as they introduced family members for incumbents, freshman representatives, and plenty of time in recess for pictures.


The joy of the day quickly left the room when the clerk read the communication of elections contest, in reference to the contested election between now seated Rep. Jim Glenn (D) and DJ Johnson (R), the incumbent losing by just one vote.


The Kentucky Constitution states in section 38 concerning contested legislative elections that “a contested election shall be determined in such manner as shall be directed by law.” The law states in KRS 120.215 that a board is to determine the contest of election of members of the General Assembly.


The procedure is clearly written out.


This board was chosen by random draw witnessed by the Majority Floor Leader John “Bam” Carney and Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. The final draw was six Republicans and three Democrats.

 
Rep. Derrick Graham said the minority caucus is “united against” following this procedure as they seem to feel that a contest to an election undermines the will of the voters. This certainly has the potential to be true should the wrong person be chosen by the House in this case. Rep. 
Graham also quoted Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote “that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


The question is injustice to whom? Would not the greater injustice be to ignore the procedure provided for in the Constitution and Kentucky law and ignore the possibility that the election was wrong?


Graham also said “the possibility exists that these three short words can take place in the process: to lie, to cheat, to steal” and that the “temptation to steal the election is hard to 
resist.” These are merely inflammatory statements that undermine the integrity of the process and the integrity of his colleagues from both sides of the aisle on the election contest committee.


This is not simply Rep. Graham voicing his concern, he was speaking on behalf of the entirety of the minority party. Rep. Adkins, who is running for governor, and Rep. Chris Harris also spoke in opposition. Harris said this was a dishonor and “stains our Constitution.” I’m not sure how following the Constitution to the letter would be a stain to the constitution?


It was only a few short hours before during the administration of the oath of office that all these elected representatives swore to “support the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky” and faithfully execute the office of state representative “according to law.” To ignore this 
procedure is a dereliction of duty at worst, and shows the extreme hypocrisy of House Democrats considering the fight over “procedure” in the SB 151 lawsuit.


The fact of the matter is this, creation of an elections contest board by the house is the law. But it seems the Democrats only want to follow the “rule of law” when it benefits them.

Calen Studler is a republican who ran against Democratic Rep. Derrick Graham in 2018 for the 57th House District seat.


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Herb Pritchett

I would point out that 2 bi-partisan board have already studied the contested ballots and certified the results "according to the law" relating to absentee ballots- the Daviess Co and State Board of Elections. Both of those Boards are made up of Republicans and Democrats - they are bi-partisan. I would certainly be more comfortable with the writer's "follow the rule of law" point if the House could be trusted to follow the law - but past history shows they cannot be so trusted. Late last year our state Supreme Court in an unanimous ruling, noted that the process used to pass the pension bill last year was "contrary to law." Rather than agreeing and upholding that ruling and the integrity of the Court, the Republican leadership criticized and screamed about the ruling - and then filed a bill this week to take some cases away from the court's jurisdiction. I submit those actions in the very recent past by the House are not "respecting the law." Also, the Daviess Co ballots that were requested in this House investigation were unsealed and transported, again, contrary to law. Some years ago Sen Dan Seum's daughter was not a legal resident of Kentucky. Despite this reality, the Senate voted to seat her - an action that was overturned by the courts as "contrary to law.". So, with all due respect Mr. Studler, these actions and others suggest that the "follow the rule of law" point you put forward has some serious historic flaws that argue against it.

Saturday, January 12

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