FRANKFORT — A new law to strengthen Kentucky’s early voting statutes took effect late Tuesday, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Wednesday. Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 319 into law just before the 10-day veto period expired after the General Assembly adjourned.
“I am extremely proud to see part of the early voting reforms we have pushed for years finally take effect,” Grimes said. “This new law will give thousands of voters who struggle with age, a disability or illness a path to have their voices heard by voting early via mail or in person.”
Prior to the enactment of House Bill 319, voters who could not vote in person on Election Day due to age, disability, or illness could only cast absentee ballots by mail. Those voters may now visit their county clerk’s office to cast ballots in-person during the absentee voting window.
Another provision of the new law allows counties to require parties pushing special local option elections not held on regular election days to pay for those elections. Grimes was a proponent of this legislation, which county officials say will save their counties thousands of dollars in election costs.
“The success of this bipartisan legislation would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of Rep. Kenny Imes, chair of the House Elections Committee, Rep. Jody Richards, Rep. James Tipton and Sen. Jimmy Higdon.”
House Bill 319 carried an emergency clause, so it took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.
New laws Grimes backed that will take effect in June include Senate Bills 189 and 235.
Grimes worked with deaf and hard of hearing advocates and bipartisan lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 189 in this legislative session. The law will allow more than 700,000 deaf and hard of hearing Kentuckians to indicate voluntarily their status in the state’s vehicle registration system, allowing law enforcement officers to see the status during traffic stops.
Senate Bill 235, sponsored by Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville), makes changes to Kentucky law to update statutes regarding businesses. Grimes, as Kentucky’s chief business official, has continued to work to streamline the Commonwealth’s business statutes.
The governor has delivered to the Secretary of State’s office all legislation the General Assembly approved and sent to him for signature, Grimes said. Enacted legislation will take effect in June.