Kentucky rejects finding it's not ready for Election Day

Local and state officials take issue with a report that says Kentucky is among 10 states least prepared for the larger-than-normal turnout expected for the 2008 presidential election.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law issued a report this week that said Kentucky is ill-prepared to address "all the most common election system meltdowns" such as machine breakdowns and fraud.

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson disputed the finding. "We are absolutely ready for the election, despite what their report tries to claim," Grayson said Friday. "For them to conclude that we are not ready is wrong and irresponsible."

County clerks anticipate a large turnout for the Nov. 4 election based on the increased numbers seen in voter registration, absentee ballots and walk-in voting.

"I mean, it's really up," said Pam Wise, deputy county clerk in Scott County. "It's going to be a very good turnout, very heavy."

The Brennan Center report recommends that states move to some sort of voter-verified paper record in their voting system as a check against potential electronic miscounts. The only two forms of these records are optical scan ballots, which are filled out by the voter and read by a scanner, and "paper trails," which are printed and used with touch-screen machines.

Grayson noted that voters in 34 Kentucky counties will vote for the first time on new digital scan voting systems. Jefferson County has used a similar optical scan system for years. The digital scan system provides a paper record that was recommended by the Brennan Center report. More than 90 counties in Kentucky already use the machines for absentee balloting.

Grayson agrees on the effectiveness of paper-based systems, but others in Kentucky don't.

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