Tiff over Kentucky voter registration continues

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July 18, 2011

Kentucky

By David Godow

Republican candidate for Kentucky Secretary of State Bill Johnson filed an ethics complaint against outgoing Democrat incumbent Elaine Walker on July 14 over her decision to allow Kentuckians to vote without giving the state a permanent residential address. The complaint is just the latest salvo in Johnson's battle with Walker and his Democratic opponent this November, Lexington attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has come out in favor of Walker's more lenient registration practices. Johnson first complained after Walker instituted the policy on June 30, arguing that state law prohibits the state from registering voters without a permanent address. He suggested the move could lead to illegal immigrants, felons and other ineligible voters casting ballots this November. Walker and Grimes, who had faced each other in this May's Democratic primary, have argued that requiring a permanent address of all voters would effectively disenfranchise the homeless, including some veterans.

Johnson's ethics complaint, which alleges incumbent Walker is violating the state constitution by registering voters without an address, will be heard by the state Executive Branch Ethics Commission on September 19. In the meantime, Walker can serve as a proxy for Johnson's real opponent, Grimes, allowing him to put some heat on a Democratic rival that has outpaced him by over 10 points in the polls.

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