KY SoS candidate Bill Johnson slams incumbent for homeless voter registration

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July 7, 2011

Kentucky

By David Godow

Republican candidate for Kentucky Secretary of State Bill Johnson slammed Democratic incumbent Elaine Walker this week for ordering the State Board of Elections to register homeless citizens to vote even if they can't provide a home address on their registration forms.

In a blog post published on his campaign website on Tuesday, Johnson argued that Kentucky election law (KRS 166.155) requires prospective voters to fill in an address on their voter registration card before being allowed to cast a ballot. He added that "providing an address is critical to determining and state residency," and suggested allowing voter registration without an address "opens our election process to potential fraud by felons, illegal immigrants, and other ineligible voters who only claim to be homeless."[1] Johnson's memo called for Walker to resign and accused Alison Lundergan Grimes, who will face Johnson in November after defeating Walker in the May 17 Democratic primary, of being unfit for office for failing to criticize homeless voter registration.[2]

Grimes's campaign manager, Jonathan Hurst, brandished different parts of state law in rebutting Johnson's claim. According to Hurst, KRS 116.025 states that citizens, in order to vote, must only be 18 years old, a Kentucky resident, mentally competent, not registered to vote in other states and not a felon. He went on to argue that "Kentuckians do not give up their rights as citizens because they are not property owners" with no permanent residence.[3]

Elaine Walker's office had no official reply to Johnson's accusations and gave no indication that registration of the homeless would stop.

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