By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for secretary of state, filed an ethics complaint Thursday against Secretary of State Elaine Walker and the State Board of Elections over the issue of registering homeless people to vote.
Johnson, a Todd County businessman and educator, claims Walker and the board are violating the Kentucky Constitution by registering voters without an address.
He contends that the elections board was wrong on June 30 when it notified county clerks that they can register voters who have no address in the precinct.
The board said applications should be approved if they have “homeless” or “place to place” listed as addresses.
Walker, who is chairwoman of the elections board, was not immediately available for comment.
“The homeless, like all Americans, have the right to vote,” Johnson said in his complaint. “However, to exercise that right to vote, all persons must register using the voter registration form and meet residency and precinct requirements.”
Johnson said in an interview that he does not oppose homeless people voting, but said they should have to list an address even if it is a shelter.
If all voters aren’t required to have specific addresses, Johnson said, elections could be open to fraud.
The campaign of Johnson’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, Alison Lundergan Grimes, has said she does not believe homeless people have to list a specific address to vote.
The Executive Branch Ethics Commission is to meet Sept. 19, when it will decide what action, if any, to take on Johnson’s complaint.