Attorney General Andy Beshear today announced the six Kentucky counties to undergo independent inquiries for any potential irregularities that may have occurred during the Nov. 6 general election.
The counties, randomly drawn by Beshear in a publicly held drawing Nov. 26, include Breathitt, Grayson, Greenup, McCreary, Washington and Webster.
“These audits ensure a fair and equitable election process in Kentucky and supplement the work our detectives did leading up to and during the general election,” Beshear said. “Kentuckians have the right to cast their ballot free of interference and intimidation, and my office is here to protect that right.”
Kentucky law requires the Office of the Attorney General to conduct postelection audits in no fewer than 5 percent of Kentucky’s counties following each primary and general election, and randomly select the counties in a publicly held drawing.
These routine inquiries will include checking election forms and interviewing county officials. After the audits are conducted by Beshear’s Department of Criminal Investigations, his Office of Special Prosecutions presents the results to the respective grand juries.
The selection of these counties does not imply that irregularities are suspected, Beshear said.
Beshear said there were no irregularities found in the six counties selected during the May 2018 primary. Those counties included Bullitt, Jessamine, Owen, Powell, Rowan and Scott counties.
By law, the Office of the Attorney General has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute election law violations. Detectives from the attorney general’s office are staged throughout the state on Election Day to immediately respond to complaints.
Beshear’s office coordinates election monitoring with the State Board of Elections, Secretary of State’s Office, the Registry of Election Finance, Kentucky State Police, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, and Beshear’s staff reviews complaints and, when appropriate, refers them for further action.
The office hosts an Election Law Violations hotline – 800-328-VOTE (8683) – on a daily basis throughout the year, though certainly with an expanded presence each primary and general election, Beshear said.
In the 2018 general election cycle, the office’s Election Law Violations hotline received 521 election complaints from 92 counties, and 54 complaints are still under review by Beshear’s Department of Criminal Investigations. By law, the office cannot provide details regarding specific complaints or possible pending investigations.
During the 2018 primary election cycle, Beshear’s office received 339 election complaints through the hotline or other sources. Of that number, 16 complaints are still under review by Beshear’s Department of Criminal Investigations.
There were no elections in 2017.
From the 2016 primary election cycle, the attorney general’s office received a call from the Pike County Clerk’s Office, which led to the conviction of a Pike County man. In August 2017, Beshear announced that Keith Justice, of Pikeville, pleaded guilty in Franklin Circuit Court to four counts of attempting to intimidate an election officer, and one count of attempting to interfere with an election.
Earlier this year, Beshear announced a section of his civil division has a singular focus to monitor and possibly challenge any unconstitutional laws passed in Kentucky that could disenfranchise voters across the state.