House Bill 574 could alter the way Kentuckians vote in elections

Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -The 2020 election brought some changes for Kentucky voters, and the biggest was allowing people to vote early without an excuse.

House Bill 574 would adopt the changes made for a more pandemic-friendly voting process and keep them. It’s a bill that would promote both participating and security in elections.

“We want to have policies in place that make it secure, and everyone feels their vote is counted,” said Lawrence County Clerk Chris Jobe.

The legislation would offer Kentuckians three days, including Saturday, leading up to an election day for early, in-person voting.

Before 2020, Kentucky didn’t have early in-person voting.

House Bill 574 would also:

  • Allow counties to continue operating voting centers where anyone in the county could vote in-person early and on Election Day, as well as maintain drop boxes where voters can submit absentee ballots.
  • Keep the process adopted last year in which voters can cure absentee ballots of deficiencies, such as one missing a signature.
  • Include new vote integrity measures to prohibit ballot harvesting, in which people collect others’ completed absentee ballots and turn them in.
  • Require counties to purchase voting machines allowing for paper ballots or a verified paper trail when replacing old equipment.
  • Improve the ability of state elections officials to purge individuals from the voting rolls when informed they are voting in another state.

Senate Bill 259 was also introduced previously, which largely mirrors HB 574 but has several key differences.

The Senate bill would shorten the deadline to register to vote to 21 days before an election, allow poll workers to work half-day shifts. and restore the secretary of state as chair and voting member of the State Board of Elections.

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