Darren Doyle, story:
Yesterday, members of the Kentucky House voted 81-15 to approve legislation that would allow Kentuckians to vote on a constitutional amendment aimed at closing a loophole that could allow non-citizens to vote in elections. The measure, HB 341, is sponsored by Representative Michael Meredith of Oakland.
“This is a short, simple, and commonsense proposal that would allow Kentuckians to decide if those who vote in elections should be required to be a citizen. Current language could be interpreted to allow non-US citizens to vote in elections because they are not specifically excluded and we are seeing this in other states. This was likely never an issue for the drafters of the constitution in 1891, but in the years since the potential to be a problem has come to our attention,” said Meredith.
“Voting is one of our most important rights and the one by which we ensure all the rest. We have an obligation to protect it and I appreciate my colleagues taking a stand and passing this measure,” he added.
According to Meredith, the proposed amendment would apply to sections 145 and 155 of the constitution. The specific ballot language would read:
“It is proposed that Section 145 of the Constitution of Kentucky be amended to read as follows: Every citizen of the United States of the age of eighteen years who has resided in the state one year, and in the county six months, and the precinct in which he or she offers to vote sixty days next preceding the election, shall be a voter in said precinct and not elsewhere. No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to vote in this state…”
The proposed constitutional amendment would also clarify the same requirement applies to school board elections, which are overseen by a separate section of the constitution. The ballot language for Section 155 would read as follows:
“The provisions of Sections 145 to 154, inclusive, shall not apply to the election of school trustees and other common school district elections. Said elections shall be regulated by the General Assembly, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution. No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to vote in said elections.”
Meredith represents Kentucky's 19th District, which covers all of Edmonson and part of Warren County.
HB 341 now goes to the Senate for further consideration. For more information about HB 341 and to track its legislative progress, visit the Kentucky General Assembly’s website at legislature.ky.gov.