State election board issues statement on absentee ballot controversy

May 12—In light of Laurel County election officials' refusal to post absentee ballots — by precinct — for the upcoming primary election, the State Board of Elections has released a statement regarding their position on the issue.

The statement was released to the Sentinel Echo on Wednesday after a story on the issue was published. Their statement is as follows:

"In preparation for the upcoming primary, one of Kentucky's election vendors failed to program a majority of their counties' equipment in the agreed upon manner that would provide election-night results displaying all voted ballot types broken down by precinct.

"While current law does not require precinct-level reporting of all ballot types, the State Board of Elections asked the vendor and the counties to correct the mistake so that all 120 counties could display uniform results for voters on election night.

"All counties in the Commonwealth will report cumulative election totals on election night, but, as he may rightfully do, Clerk Tony Brown has chosen not to report all ballot types by precinct, leaving Laurel County as the only county in Kentucky to not provide this information.

"Contrary to statements made earlier today by Clerk Brown, reporting of all ballot types by precinct is lawful for this primary according to both the plain language of Section 147 of the Kentucky Constitution and judicial precedent.

"While anyone can create hypothetical scenarios that may lead to litigation in any election, worry about the secrecy of ballots is not supported by the law and voters can be confident that their vote will remain their vote as they make their choices this May."

Early voting began Thursday and will continue until from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Polls for the regular election day on Tuesday, May 16 are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.