07-26-2012

Kentucky's secretary of state to travel overseas for voting initiative

Kentucky Press News Service

Kentucky's secretary of state will travel this fall to Afghanistan and parts of the Middle East on a project that encourages voting.

“One of my goals as secretary of state is to increase access to the polls for members of the military, both active and veterans,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a news release from her office. “Those who risk their lives on the battlefield must have their voices protected at the ballot box, and ensuring they have access to vote and that their votes are counted is and will continue to be a priority of my office.”

In this effort, 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 last month.

Grimes honored several soldiers by presenting them with Army Commendation Medals, which are awarded for exemplary motivation, dedication and professionalism. Grimes thanked the soldiers for their service and educated them about the voter registration and absentee voting processes.

The 138th Fires Brigade consists of more than 1,500 soldiers from across Central Kentucky. Approximately 900 soldiers were on-site at the training center in preparation for a mission that will deploy later this year. Prior to their deployment, Grimes will provide absentee voting training to officers and assist soldiers in registering to vote and obtaining absentee ballots.

In addition, Grimes has been invited to travel abroad in the fall to work with the Federal Voting Assistance Program to assess and make improvements to military voting procedures. The itinerary tentatively includes Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Grimes, Kentucky’s only current female constitutional officer and one of 10 female secretaries of state in the nation, was selected to participate in the program by the United States Secretary of Defense. During the trip, she will meet with military men and women in the field and learn about the logistics of delivering ballot materials to deployed troops and returning ballots to the United States on a timely basis.