APRIL 29, 2015
Giving out cards and asking for votes near polls is legal again
With just three weeks to go before the May 19 primary election for several state offices, including that of governor, a panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2014 ruling by U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman the state’s law banning electioneering at polling places is unconstitutional and violates free speech right.s
The law was challenged by a northern Kentucky businessman who had campaign signs removed from his property on election day in 2012 and 2014 by the sheriff’s office. The signs were removed because they were within 300 feet of a polling place, which is covered under KRS 117.235(3), Kentucky’s electioneering ban.
“The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today held that KRS 117.235(3), which prohibited electioneering within 300 feet of a polling place on Election Day and at in-person absentee voting locations during the hours voting is being conducted, is unconstitutional. As the Commonwealth’s Chief Election Official, I will continue to work closely with law enforcement officials to ensure that Kentucky’s laws that prevent voter intimidation and harassment are enforced and Kentucky’s elections remain free and fair. It is now up to the General Assembly to introduce and pass a legislative fix,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Officials said Attorney General Jack Conway’s office is reviewing the ruling.