Speaking at this year’s Fancy Farm picnic, the candidates for secretary of state continued their debate about registering homeless people to vote in Kentucky.
Declaring that people without an address should not be allowed to vote, Republican nominee Bill Johnson said allowing them to register opens the door to possible voter fraud. Last month, he filed an ethics complaint over a 2-page memorandum sent to county clerks by the secretary of state’s office telling local officials to approve voter applications that have “homeless” or “place to place” listed as an address.
Johnson told the raucous crowed that if elected he will make the policy simple in order to avoid potential deception at the polls.
“Without an address you can’t determine residency, you can’t determine precinct. With Bill Johnson as secretary of state, the policy will be: no address, no vote,” he said.
For weeks, Johnson has sparred with his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has said homeless people have a right to vote and that Johnson is trying to restrict that right to property owners.
She told Fancy Farm onlookers that Johnson is fear mongering the issue in order to gain supporter and isn’t familiar with state law.
“I don’t know my opponent, but what I do know is that he is not about sound solutions, friends. Instead, he is betting against the intelligence of each and every one of you here,” she said. “He is playing on each of you, using scare tactics based on half-truths.”
State law does not require a person to have a permanent or traditional residency to vote, and those listed as homeless are required to vote in the precinct containing the county clerk’s office.
The memo sent to county clerks instructs election officials to make all attempts to contact individuals if a telephone number or mailing address is provided. If a voters lists “homeless” under their address, state officials are to place them in the precinct that contains the county clerk’s office.