Kentuckians will be able to register to vote online, possibly in time for the next presidential election, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Tuesday.
Standing outside the League of Women Voters’ Louisville office, Grimes touted the “transformational change” as a way to generate more registered voters in the state. Grimes said funds for the project are available through the federal Help America Vote Act, and her office estimated the program’s cost at $45,000.
Grimes said the initiative has support from past Kentucky secretaries of state, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration and the Republican National Lawyers Association. Twenty-three states currently offer online voter registration, and five others and the District of Columbia have passed such measures but have not yet implemented them, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
This is again, a big deal here and Grimes gets a lot of credit. Easy, on-line voting registration will be too late to help for the state races this year, but could play a part in turnout for 2016's Presidential, Senate, and House contests here.
Kentucky’s move toward an online voter registration system comes after a similar measure, House Bill 214, failed to get a Senate committee vote in this year’s session. HB 214 cleared the House on a 92-3 vote.
The Kentucky State Board of Elections, which Grimes chairs, crafted an administrative regulation enacting an online voter registration portal, which cleared the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee on a 4-3 vote in July, according to a report by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“We actually made sure in the event our General Assembly stalled as sometimes they often do, we were prepared,” Grimes said. “This is an initiative that the voters of Kentucky are demanding, and it’s made its way through the administrative regulation process, now effective law. Kentucky can’t wait any longer. We’re finally entering the 21st century as it relates to election administration thanks to the diligence and hard work of my staff and the State Board of Elections.”
The one downside is that should Grimes lose to Republican Steve Knipper in November, I'm betting Knipper will immediately shelve the project. Republicans don't want more people voting, ever. They lose when that happens, and even Kentucky Republicans are smart enough to know that.
Something that makes it easier to vote? No way.