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'Myths and conspiracies' persist around elections, Kentucky assistant secretary of state says

Kentucky lawmakers heard an update Tuesday on election security in the state and questioned representatives with the secretary of state’s office and election machine vendors.

"As you all are 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."
Assistant Kentucky Secretary of State Jennifer Scutchfield

Those were the first words out of the mouth of Assistant Secretary of State Jennifer Scutchfield, before she peeled off a list of security improvements and safeguards the state has in place. Those range from the ongoing switch to voter-verified paper ballots to an expanded post-election audit process.

Scutchfield also said ideas such as switching back to hand-counting of ballots would lead to slower results and increase the possibility of fraud.

Lawmakers quizzed Scutchfield on the length of time ballots are available if requested through the state elections portal and whether county-wide voting centers helped or hurt turnout in the 2022 primary.

But it was her opening comments that prompted some back-and-forth between lawmakers. Republican Rep. Kevin Bratcher said there are election-related questions that remain unresolved.

"I can go to ten different election lawyers on something, let's say qualifications for a candidate, and I'll get ten different answers," the GOP lawmaker said, adding, "Let's don't get so arrogant that we can't ask questions because that's what we're here for."

Democrat Derrick Graham countered his colleague's remarks and praised the work of the secretary’s office.

"I don't think you were being arrogant or aggressive in your comments," he addressed Scutchfield. "I think you were trying to provide us with the truth."

The meeting came as election security has been at the forefront of the national conversation, with lawmakers in Washington continuing to hold hearings on the events surrounding the January 6th Capitol riot.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.