October 10, 2019 Blog, Press Release

Kentucky Democratic Party Files Lawsuit Against Kentucky State Board of Elections For “Inactive” Voter List

On Thursday, the Kentucky Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court against the State Board of Elections (SBE) for unlawfully placing 175,000 registered Kentucky voters on an “Inactive” list, infringing their right to vote.

In September, the KDP called on the SBE to immediately halt the policy and restore the voter registrations.

According to the complaint filed Thursday, the Kentucky Democratic Party alleges that “SBE’s actions undermine the integrity of the electoral process” because:

  • SBE has illegally burdened core constitutional rights.
  • SBE has avoided the normal rule making process for administrative regulations.
  • SBE staff has acted ultra vires without consent from the State Board of Elections.
  • SBE staff continues to change and modify rules under which elections will be administered.  It is not clear what rules govern this election.
  • SBE has provided different explanations of the rules to different political parties and left many interested parties without any information at all.
  • SBE’s failure to provide clear rules denies third parties their statutory rights to observe elections and ensure fair administration.
  • SBE’s failure to provide clear rules guarantees disparate and unfair treatment of voters across the state.

According to the complaint, “SBE’s own emails show that it was clearly advised that this course of action is illegal” and that “explicit agreement to not strip voters from the Master List was made between SBE’s General Counsel, SBE’s outside counsel, the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Judicial Watch, and the Secretary of State.”  The complaint also alleges the agreement was “ immediately breached” by SBE.

“After weeks of conversations with the State Board of Elections staff that raised more questions than it provided answers, we determined that we had no choice but to file this lawsuit in order to protect Kentucky voters from facing unfair burdens at the polls,” Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self said. “Our hope is that this will be resolved quickly and that voters can be confident heading into Election Day”

View the complaint here.