By Bill Estep
Disagreement over who should have the right to vote and what identification people should show at the ballot box have largely defined this year’s election for Kentucky secretary of state.
Republican candidate Bill Johnson believes people should have to show photo identification before being allowed to vote, saying it would guard against fraud. Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, however, says many people don’t have a photo ID and that requiring one would create a barrier to the ballot box for them.
The two candidates also differ sharply on registering homeless people to vote and voting rights for felons.
The secretary of state is Kentucky’s chief election officer and the official in charge of recording business incorporations. Grimes and Johnson are vying to replace Democrat Elaine Walker, who was appointed to the post by Gov. Steve Beshear in January after Republican Trey Grayson resigned the office. Grimes defeated Walker in the May Democratic primary.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has decided to take no action on a complaint filed by Bill Johnson, Republican candidate for secretary of state, over voter registration of homeless people.
Johnson said Tuesday that John Steffen, executive director of the ethics commission, told him that the panel lacks jurisdiction to consider his complaint against Secretary of State Elaine Walker and the State Board of Elections.
Steffen declined Monday, after the commission’s regular meeting, to comment on the case, saying the panel can only comment on a case when it acts on it.
Johnson contended in his complaint filed in August that Walker and the elections board are violating the Kentucky Constitution by allowing people who don’t have addresses to register to vote.
FRANKFORT — A second poll released this week shows Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear with a more than 20-point lead over Republican challenger David Williams.
Insight’s CN|2 poll, conducted by Braun Research, showed Beshear and running mate Jerry Abramson with 53.4 percent of the vote, compared to 25.3 percent for Williams and running mate Richie Farmer.
The independent slate of Lexington lawyer Gatewood Galbraith and marketing executive Dea Riley garnered about 7.2 percent of the vote.
Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling released numbers that showed Beshear witha 27-point lead over Williams.
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.
FRANKFORT — While candidates for governor get the most attention, candidates for the state’s other constitutional offices also are scrambling to raise campaign funds to get out their messages.
Big money is being raised in the race for secretary of state.
The latest campaign finance reports show that in the Democratic race for secretary of state to be decided at the May 17 primary election, Lexington attorney Allison Lundergan Grimes raised $303,283 from Jan. 1 to April 15 and had $256,347 on hand while incumbent Elaine Walker of Bowling Green has taken in $100,420 total and had $78,769 on hand.
By Roger Alford | Associated Press
FRANKFORT — People would be required to show a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship before they could register to vote in Kentucky under a proposal by Republican Hilda Legg.
Legg, former head of the federal Appalachian Regional Commission now running for Kentucky secretary of state, made the proposal during a televised debate Monday night with GOP opponent Bill Johnson, a western Kentucky businessman.
Johnson said he opposes the proposal, instead suggesting it be required that only voters who have photo IDs be permitted to cast ballots.
The two Republicans and two Democrats participated in back-to-back debates on Kentucky Educational Television.
FRANKFORT – Republican Bill Johnson, who enjoyed support from the Tea Party movement in his aborted run for the U.S. Senate this year, has officially entered next year’s race for secretary of state.
Johnson, 44, of Todd County, plopped down his $500 filing fee Monday morning in the secretary of state’s office in the Capitol to enter the race.
He is the first candidate to file in next year’s races for state constitutional offices, which will include the race for governor.
FRANKFORT – Todd County businessman Bill Johnson, who withdrew from this year’s Republican primary election for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday it is unlikely that he will run for governor next year — an idea he was considering earlier this year.
Johnson, a Navy veteran who garnered about 8,000 votes in May’s Republican primary election even though he bowed out of the race in March, said he has not ruled out a 2011 bid for governor but “the environment is not conducive to my type of campaign.”
He said he expects the field of candidates will be crowded and will require a great deal of campaign funds to be successful.
Johnson said he might be interested in running for secretary of state or auditor.
FRANKFORT — Todd County businessman Bill Johnson, who withdrew from this year’s Republican primary election for U.S. Senate, and state Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, are considering running as a slate in next year’s race for governor and lieutenant governor.
Johnson, a Navy veteran who garnered about 8,000 votes in last week’s primary election even though he bowed out of the race in March, said Tuesday that he hopes to decide by June or July whether to run for governor next year.
Both Johnson and Thayer said Republicans they would consider formidable opponents in a primary bid for governor next year include state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer of Manchester, Senate President David Williams of Burkesville and Jess Correll, president of First Southern National Bank in Stanford.
An aide for Farmer said earlier this month that he has not yet made any decision about his political plans. Williams has been frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for governor but has not said publicly if he would run.
An aide for Correll said he would “get back in touch later.”
“The question is can I raise the money,” Johnson said. “I believe whoever is the Republican slate, they should get started early.”
FRANKFORT — Todd County businessman Bill Johnson has decided to withdraw from Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race.
Johnson, a Republican, issued a statement Wednesday that said a poll conducted for his campaign Tuesday night showed results that “were not encouraging for a continued run.
“It is time to gracefully and honorably exit the race for the U.S. Senate.”
Johnson, seeking his first public office, said he would remain neutral in the Republican primary race and considered both Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul “good men.”
“Regardless of who wins the primary, I offer my full support to helping that candidate become our next U.S. Senator from Kentucky,” Johnson said.