Kentucky military personnel serving overseas will be able to get ballots electronically under legislation approved late Tuesday in the Kentucky General Assembly. How they send them back is still to be determined. Working until the last minute of the 2013 session, legislators went back to the original Senate version of the military voting bill that allowed for electronic sending of ballots to overseas military, but snail mail return of the ballot.
The legislation also establishes a task force to study electronic returns—the preferred method of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. The task force will address safety concerns with that option.
"We value our young men and women in uniform that are stationed overseas and you know we hold them in high regard," said state Sen. Jimmy Higdon, a Lebanon Republican. "We also hold in high regard the integrity of the voting process. So you just want to make sure we get this right."
Grimes said she's glad to have taken the first step in the process and will continue working on the issue.
"Today is one step forward in ensuring their voices are heard," she said. "I saw firsthand in the Middle East our military’s commitment to the Commonwealth and our nation. I respect them deeply, and as Chief Election Official I will continue to work on their behalf to ensure no military or overseas voter ever has to question whether his or her vote counts. I'm proud that we have started this conversation and taken the first step in this critical legislation.
The bill was signed and sent to Gov. Steve Beshear just before midnight on the last day of the legislative session.