Voter purge in Kentucky reaches 300,000

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

BY TOM LATEK

Kentucky Today

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, in his role as the state’s chief election officer, announced more than 300,000 inactive voters have been removed from the rolls since he took office in 2019.

That 300,000 figure includes 127,436 people who were purged from the list of eligible voters Friday afternoon.

“Those who have moved away, passed away, or been put away [for a felony conviction] are consistently coming off our rolls,” said Adams. “Kentuckians’ confidence in our election process is well-deserved.”

Other reasons for being removed from the voter rolls in Kentucky include those who have been judged mentally incompetent by a court, people who voluntarily de-register, and duplicate registrations that are discovered by election officials.

Of the more than 127,000 inactive voters removed from the rolls, the Secretary of State’s office says around 60,000 were registered Democrats, about 51,000 were registered Republicans, and approximately 16,000 had been independent or registered under third parties.

The large number of inactive voters removed from the rolls is due in large part to a consent decree issued in federal court several years ago. The action followed a case brought successfully by the conservative group Judicial Watch, claiming Kentucky had not been purging voter rolls as they should have been all along, leading 41 counties to have more registered voters on their lists than the actual voting age population.

According to the suit, filed in November 2017, Judicial Watch also alleged Kentucky failed to report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission the number of inactive registrations, as required by law, although the state does maintain such a list. Judicial Watch claims the “failure to report suggests the state is not performing reasonable voter list maintenance.”

In addition, it said, “Kentucky failed to report to the EAC the number of confirmation notices it sent during the previous two-year period in violation of federal regulations. ”The confirmation notices, which include a postage pre-paid notice, asks voters to confirm their address. Failure to respond could cancel a registration, but only after two intervening federal general elections.

It takes some time for people to be taken off, as The National Voter Registration Act, and Kentucky’s equivalent law, require a multi-year process to remove inactive voters unless they fit one of the categories mentioned above.