FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Following a lengthy meeting, the State Board of Elections unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday supporting Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes against allegations made by board Executive Director Jared Dearing, a fellow Democrat.
His complaint, contained in a nine-page letter to members of the Board of Elections, alleged Grimes ordered him to stop or slow-walk scanning postcards returned after they were sent to 600,000 voters who hadn’t been to the polls for at least four elections, warning that if they didn’t respond or vote in one of the next two elections they would be removed from voter rolls, an action that would violate a consent decree from a federal court.
Dearing also said Grimes improperly accessed the list of 15,000 poll workers to send them a letter thanking them for serving during the November election, used voter registration data to check party affiliation for job applicants, created a hostile workplace by yelling at employees who raised ethical concerns and that she chipped away at the checks and balances established by state law to prevent one political party from having an unfair balance.
Grimes, as chair of the Board of Elections, which has three members from each political party, called a special meeting for 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to address the allegations. One member of each party did not attend.
Republican member DeAnna Brangers of Prospect maintained she did not receive an email until 3 p.m. on Monday and said that violated Open Meetings Law, since a 24-hour notification is required.
The board then recessed until after 3 p.m. when they reconvened and went into executive session, which lasted nearly three and a half hours.
They then unanimously approved a resolution supporting Grimes on a 4-0 vote giving her authority to oversee the board’s day-to-day operations and affirmed she is required to have access to the state’s voter database.
The resolution also said the executive director needs to communicate to the chair and board matters of importance to the purview of the board in overseeing fair administration of the election process.
After the vote, Grimes told reporters the board said it was time to move forward “and to reaffirm what I believe the accusations demonstrate, which is a fundamental basic lack of understanding of the role of myself as chair of the board and as chief election official. I vigorously dispute the bizarre contents of the allegations of the staff member.”