Gov. Bevin signs bill limiting secretary of state's power
Governor Matt Bevin has signed a bill which eliminates the secretary of state's authority over the State Board of Elections.
The law removes the secretary as the chair of the board by making the position a non-voting member.
It also makes misusing the statewide Voter Registration System a misdemeanor.
This law comes after a
by the Lexington Herald-Leader and ProPublica that details an alleged power grab by current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Grimes, a Democrat, is accused of having staffers search the VRS for information on political rivals, among other things.
Federal law mandates that Kentucky’s chief election official create and maintain that system.
Grimes is being investigated by three separate state agencies.
The law now applies to Grimes and future secretaries of state. Grimes is in the final year of her term in office, and she cannot run for reelection because of term limits.
“I will be carefully reviewing the legislation and take any legal action necessary to preserve the orderly administration of the Commonwealth’s elections that are just weeks away,” said Grimes.
She said the Republican-backed bill would negatively impact the security of Kentucky's elections. She told the Associated Press she is exploring legal options.
Grimes' spokeswoman Lillie Ruschell tells WKYT, "this bill creates a gridlocked election board and allows for more power to be wielded by Republican Governor Matt Bevin, who's name happens to be on the ballot this year."
Grimes didn't appear at Tuesday's State Board of Elections meeting after the bill was signed into law. The bill had an emergency clause which allowed it to take effect once Bevin signed it.