Thursday, April 7, 2016

Grimes touts online voter registration in western Kentucky

Traveling in western Kentucky today, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes promoted the Commonwealth’s new online voter registration portal,, as a major success. She held town hall meetings to discuss the portal and other election issues at Murray State University and Western Kentucky University.

Grimes is continuing a statewide tour to encourage new voters in Kentucky to register online via by April 18 to participate in the May 17 Primary Election. (The deadline to switch parties for the primary was Dec. 31, 2015.)

“Almost 15,000 Kentuckians have used – that’s an incredible number for just a few weeks of operation,” said Grimes. “Every day, people are realizing that going online where there are no lines is much easier than the paper process, which requires mailing an application or visiting their county clerks’ office.”

Grimes said the portal is easy for all citizens to use. A 98-year-old updated her registration with the online portal just a week after it officially launched, she said.

Jay Todd Richey, student body president at Western Kentucky University, praised Grimes for reaching out to students and choosing Kentucky’s universities as the location for her community town halls.

“We were honored to have Secretary Grimes at WKU. Clearly, she understands that while young people may be 25 percent of our population, they are 100 percent of our future,” said Richey. “The new online voter registration initiative,, is a very positive step forward toward expanding access to the ballot box in Kentucky.”

Murray State University’s student government regularly hosts voter registration drives for its students. Clinton Combs, the student body president, said will be a big help in their efforts.

“We believe there is no greater legacy to leave behind than that of being a civically engaged citizen. The Murray State Student Government Association is excited that Secretary Grimes has launched, and we’re proud to partner with her in the effort to get more students registered to vote and engaged in the process.”

Grimes said will improve the accuracy of voter rolls and will lead to a major cost savings for the state, as well as decreasing workloads for county clerks.

About one-third of eligible Kentuckians are not registered to vote at all, and the gap is wider among youth and minorities. Grimes has implemented initiatives to make the registration process quick and convenient in an effort to close registration gaps and increase voter turnout.

Twenty-nine percent of the 523,232 total registered voters in western Kentucky (1st Congressional District) participated in the 2015 General Election.

“In western Kentucky, participation in the last year’s General Election dipped below the state average, which was only 30 percent. Kentucky needs more than a select few of our citizens deciding who runs our government,” said Grimes. “We must do better!”

Grimes is visiting each of Kentucky’s public universities before the April 18 deadline to register to vote for the May 17 Primary Election.