Thursday, March 27, 2008

Presidential Primary Public Service Announcement

The following comes from Secretary of State Trey Grayson's office:
Grayson Announces Important Reminders for Voters about the Presidential Primary

Press Release Date: Thursday, March 27, 2008
Contact Information: Les Fugate, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Office of the Secretary of State

(Frankfort, KY) With many Presidential campaigns’ attention turning to Kentucky, Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced a number of reminders today for voters in Kentucky so that they can be prepared for the May 20th election. In particular, he reminded Kentuckians about a number of voter registration issues that citizens may encounter.

“Kentucky is already receiving attention from presidential campaigns, and that intensity will only increase after the Pennsylvania primary on April 22nd,” said Secretary Grayson. “Kentucky voters need to be aware right now about many issues that they may face before Kentucky’s primary in May.”

Grayson specifically called attention to existing state law that prevents voters from switching their party affiliation after the start of the new calendar year. Those voters will forfeit the ability to vote in either partisan primary. Other states allow voters to switch their party affiliation close to the primary. Many of these states are receiving a lot of national media attention because of accusations of “party raiding,” the act of voters switching political parties to vote in the upcoming primary election in an effort to sway the results of a particular election.

In Kentucky, if voters attempt to switch their party, they will actually lose some of their voting privileges, and Grayson is urging voters to pay particular attention to this issue. Since January 1, 2008, nearly 9,000 voters have switched their party affiliation and therefore have forfeited their ability to vote in partisan primaries in the May election. That number is already equal to the total number of party switches in 2007.

Grayson also reminded voters that if they have moved recently, they need to update their voter registration so that they are allowed to vote on election day. In particular, if a voter has moved from one county to another prior to the voter registration books closing and he or she does not update his or her voter registration, that voter will not be allowed to vote in the primary election.

Grayson also noted that many third-party registration groups are in Kentucky now and are trying to register voters. There have been some complaints to the State Board of Elections about some of these voter registration efforts. Grayson noted that most voter registration efforts are very helpful, but sometimes those efforts can confuse voters. For instance, one voter registration group has been sending voter registration cards and letters to citizens stating that they are not registered to vote, when in fact, many of those citizens are registered. Grayson asked voters to take the time to check their voter registration at at the Voter Information Center. He also noted that the easiest way to register is to simply visit your local county clerk’s office or to print out a voter registration card online and to send that to either the State Board of Elections or County Clerk.

Finally, Grayson noted to all current seventeen year-olds, that if they will be eighteen on or before the November 4, 2008 general election, they are eligible to register for the May 20 primary election.

“Unfortunately, many citizens only participate in elections in which the President of the United States is on the ballot. Because many citizens may not regularly participate in the elections process, it is important for them to pay close attention to some of the nuances of Kentucky election law so that they can properly prepare for the upcoming election,” said Secretary Grayson.

Voters have until April 21, 2008 to register to vote. To determine voter registration status, see a list of candidates, or to find more information about the upcoming election, please visit:

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