There have been a couple of recent articles in the Hazard Herald concerning allegation of voter fraud. The article in the April 16, 2014 edition of the Herald stated that eastern Kentucky “has been notoriously linked with election tampering for years”. The article went on to state that in 2012, the Attorney General’s Office received dozens of calls to its voter fraud hotline from southeastern Kentucky. There was no mention of the specific number, no the nature of the complaints which originated from Perry County.
Through an open records request to the Office of the Attorney General, I was able to obtain specific information related to Perry County. The information received from the Attorney General’s Office indicated no complaints from Perry County for the 2012 May Primary election. The specific complaints originating from Perry County concerning the 2012 General Election were as follows: (1) a 102 year old voter requested a written absentee ballot which was not timely received. Since the voter unable to vote by absentee ballot, she was taken to her normal precinct to vote. (2) A resident of Vicco complained there were “four to five people in line to vote and he did not know them”. This complaint was investigated by the Attorney General’s Office, and no violation was found. (3) An individual voter went to a polling place in Perry County to learn that she was not registered to vote in Perry County, but was instead registered in Boone County. According to the information from the Office of the Attorney General, these are the only complaints originating from Perry County for the 2012election cycle.
The April 16 article in the Herald also addressed the concerns expressed in the March 18. 2014 meeting of the Perry County Fiscal Court related to the question on Knott county resident voting improperly voting in Perry County elections. The Lotts Creek area and the Phoenix Place subdivision present particular problems in making a determination as to a person’s county of residence because all of the addresses are listed as being in “Hazard” regardless of whether the residence is located in Perry or Knott County. The Perry County Election Board has performed a complete review of these areas consisting of physical inspections of the properties, and reviews of the Perry County and Knott County 911 mapping information, PVA offices and deed records. The Perry County Election Commission determined that a total of 21 voters in these two areas were not properly registered. These voters were notified of the decision of the Perry County Election Commission by letter dated April 7, 2014.
The most concerning allegation at the Fiscal Court meeting was that a person known to be a Knott County resident voted in the Bulan precinct in the last election. This allegation was particularly concerning because the Bulan precinct is not one that borders on Knott County. This matter was referred to the Criminal Investigations Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The investigation of the Attorney General’s Office has now been completed, their investigation has determined the allegation to be unsubstantial.
I want to thank the Herald for reporting in these very serious issues and allowing me the opportunity to provide your readers with this information. The Perry County Clerk’s Office and the 183 Perry County election workers take their jobs very seriously. We all have the responsibility of ensuring that our elections are fair and proper. As long as I am County Clerk, I will do my best to make sure that happens.