TierBottom Tier

Back to Map

View Scorecard for Year

Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

The General Assembly continued to focus on passing bipartisan election reforms this past session. Unfortunately, the Assembly also remained unable to pass legislation to automatically restore voting rights. Secretary of State Adams, however, has continued to challenge false fraud narratives from election deniers and has maintained the state’s support for the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) voter list maintenance group. Therefore, Kentucky received a B on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Kentucky Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: Open to all Eligible
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Some permanent disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Excuse-Only
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Yes
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Kentucky as of 2022, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other bottom tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 39th
  • EPI Score (2020): 32nd
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 5/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

  • H 302 gives the attorney general the authority to establish uniform rules for inquiries into election irregularities and removes the prohibition on investigating the same county in consecutive elections. It also gives the secretary of state the final say on polling place consolidation decisions approved by local boards of elections, among other things.
  • Kentucky continues to have one of the highest rates of disenfranchisement in the country. And once again, the General Assembly failed to pass legislation that would provide a path to allow for automatic restoration of voting rights. While individuals may currently have their rights restored thanks to a broad reaching executive order issued by current Governor Beshear, the order may easily be rescinded by a future governor. Therefore, it’s critically important that the Legislature act to pass restoration of rights legislation.

Executive Action

  • At a time when elections remain under constant attack from partisan actors, Secretary of State Adams has worked to promote policies that help ease the burdens on voters and election administrators alike, by championing early voting and working to secure additional funding for county election offices.
  • Thus far, Secretary of State Adams continues to defend the state’s membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), as a valuable tool to help keep the state’s voter rolls accurate. This comes at a time when many other secretaries have hastily left the organization based on a widespread propaganda campaign intended to manipulate states into leaving the voter list maintenance group.