By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will be traveling to Afghanistan and several other countries in September to help American soldiers vote.
Grimes is one of six secretaries of state across the nation who has been asked by the Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Department of Defense to make the two-week trip to meet with uniformed soldiers in Afghanistan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
No state funds will be involved for the trip, Grimes said, adding that no staff or family member will be accompanying her.
“I’m very excited and honored to be a part of this mission,” said Kentucky’s chief election official during an interview Wednesday in her Capitol office. “First, it will give me a chance to thank our soldiers and then educate them to make sure their voices are heard on Election Day.”
The Federal Voting Assistance Program administers the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986. It acts on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
It primarily assists uniformed services and overseas voters in exercising their right to vote.
Grimes will be the only female Democratic secretary of state on the trip. She is one of 10 female secretaries of state in the nation and Kentucky’s only current female constitutional officer.
During the trip, Grimes will visit with military soldiers in the field to learn about the logistics of delivering ballot materials to deployed troops and returning ballots to the U.S. on a timely basis.
Last month, Grimes met with senior officers and soldiers in the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 138th Fires Brigade at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville to learn about their training and deployment. The unit has more than 1,500 soldiers from across Central Kentucky. About 900 were at the training center.
Grimes told the soldiers about voter registration and absentee balloting and presented to several of them Army Commendation Medals, which are awarded for exemplary motivation, dedication and professionalism.
“I am grateful for every opportunity to educate military personnel about the current absentee voting procedures, and I look forward to assessing firsthand the challenges confronting military voters and helping to improve the process for the future,” she said.
In 2008 for the last presidential election, Kentucky issued 4,723 absentee ballots to military personnel. About 76 percent of them were returned.
Filed Under: Alison Lundergan Grimes