Kentucky

Snapshot: Kentucky has a middling score for ease of voting and good scores for ballot security and how elected officials responded to claims about the 2020 election.

Ease of Voting

Some measures to expand access
4 out of 7 benchmarks

Ballot Security

Many measures to ensure accuracy and security
7 out of 8 benchmarks

What Politicians Say

Few responses that undermined the 2020 election
3 out of 4 benchmarks

The state has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the US, but unlike other reliably Republican states it moved toward opening more access after the 2020 election.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams worked together to temporarily allow in-person early voting and no-excuse vote-by-mail, create voting centers where anyone in a county can cast a ballot and allow people who couldn’t get photo ID due to pandemic-related closures to vote.

After the election, Beshear signed bipartisan legislation that made some of those changes permanent, setting three days of in-person early voting, creating a website to allow voters to request a mail-in ballot and establishing a process for voters to fix rejected mail-in ballots.


Ease of Voting

Is the state making it easy for eligible voters to register and cast a ballot?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Kentucky compares to other states
Kentucky
Other states
← Easier to vote
Harder →
8
7
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5
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3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Although it temporarily expanded access to vote-by-mail during the pandemic, Kentucky remains one of 17 states that require an excuse to vote by mail.

But in-person early voting proved popular enough in 2020 for members of both parties to make it permanent, although the state’s three days remain well below the US average of 23.

The 2021 overhaul also made permanent the use of voting centers and drop boxes.


Ballot Security

Is the state following best practices to ensure ballot counting is accurate and timely?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Kentucky compares to other states
Kentucky
Other states
← More secure
Less secure →
8
7
6
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2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Disabled voters in Kentucky are sometimes offered touchscreen voting machines that have been known to count a vote for the wrong candidate.

A provision of the 2021 legislation mandated that those voting machines generate a paper receipt that voters can use to check how they voted.

The bill also limited who can turn in a mail-in ballot to a voter’s immediate family members, housemates and caregivers.


How Politicians Responded to the 2020 Election

What did the state do in the aftermath of Trump's defeat?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Kentucky compares to other states
Kentucky
Other states
← Fewer efforts to undermine 2020 election
More →
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Kentucky did not join the Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to intervene in the election, and none of its US representatives signed an amicus brief in support.

Only one of the state’s five Republican US representatives, Harold Rogers, objected to Biden electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania.


Read the full methodology
Story by: Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison
Graphics by: Paul Murray, Allison McCartney and Mira Rojanasakul
With assistance by: Rachael Dottle, Marie Patino, Jenny Zhang, Gregory Korte, Romy Varghese, Vincent Del Giudice, Nathan Crooks, Margaret Newkirk, Shruti Date Singh, David Welch, Elise Young, Dina Bass, Brendan Walsh, Carey Goldberg and Maria Wood
Editors: Wendy Benjaminson, Wes Kosova, Alex Tribou and Yue Qiu
Photo editors: Eugene Reznik, Marisa Gertz and Maria Wood
Photo credits: Getty Images, Bloomberg and AP Photo