The Kentucky Secretary of State’s office and officials from voting system companies Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Harp Enterprises Inc., and Hart InterCivic Inc. on Tuesday testified to the General Assembly’s Interim Committee on Government about the security of elections in Kentucky.
“As you are all well aware, we have myths and conspiracies that continue to abound about elections, and these are being promulgated by people that really should know better,” said Assistant Secretary of State Jenni Scutchfield to the committee before talking about how the Secretary of State’s Office is working to “clean up the state’s voter rolls” with more than 110,000 dead people being removed.
Elections in Kentucky are managed by the Secretary of State’s office. Scutchfield cited what she see as steps the office has taken, such as absentee ballot tracking, enhanced signature verification, video surveillance on voting machines, and an expanded audit process.
“I think it is very important to state over and over again that the voting machines are not connected to the internet,” Scutchfield said, regarding a common point of contention amongst those who say there are issues with election integrity in Kentucky. “They do not have modems within them. The internet has nothing to do with voting and Kentucky totals.”
One of those involved with the spreading of misinformation across the state about election integrity is Sen. Adrienne Southworth (R-Lawrenceburg), who has traveled Kentucky as part of the “Restore Election Integrity Tour,” along with Stephen Knipper, the former chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, and current incumbent Erlanger city councilman.
Southworth also sits on the legislative committee that met Tuesday, and she asked about how the poll books, which are used to check in voters, integrate with the voting machines. She also said that she had a constituent tell her they should return to paper ballots, which is something that Southworth supports.
“I would say that the best friend of a fraudster is hand-counting ballots,” said Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville). “That would be the worst thing we could possibly do.”
Scutchfield agreed with Nemes and said that hand-counting ballots increases the risk of fraud and causes significant delays in election results. The Kentucky constitution changed in the 1940s to allow ballots to be counted by machine.
Senate Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) often speaks out against Southworth’s motions or her comments that election fraud is prevalent in Kentucky.
“Spreading disinformation about the electoral process is not good for our republic,” Thayer said. “It suppresses voter turnout.”
Thayer then brought forward representatives from the voting machine companies.
“I’m going to ask both of you, is there any evidence that any of our machines have been tampered with by an outside entity looking to change the results of Kentucky elections?”
“No, sir,” they answered.