Adams Defeats McGrath Lawsuit to Strike Down “Current System of Absentee Voting”


Today, Secretary of State Michael Adams obtained a dismissal of Amy McGrath for Senate’s lawsuit that challenged the regulation implementing his bipartisan agreement with Governor Beshear, and that sought to have a court declare the “current system of absentee voting” unconstitutional. Secretary Adams offers this statement:

“On April 24, Governor Beshear and I reached a bipartisan agreement to expand voting options and ensure voting would be both safe and convenient for the June 23 election. We negotiated this agreement two months before election day in order to provide clarity for election officials, candidates and voters. That very day, Amy McGrath called the plan ‘a win for democracy,’ and even just recently the McGrath campaign aired a radio ad called ‘A Lot Easier’ that praised Governor Beshear for this plan.

“However, on June 12, the McGrath campaign sued the Governor she has been on paid radio praising, and challenged the plan she has been on paid radio endorsing. The McGrath campaign asked a federal judge to declare unconstitutional ‘the current system of absentee voting’ that Governor Beshear and I worked so hard in good faith to establish, so that we could protect Kentucky voters from the coronavirus.

“The McGrath campaign attempted to rewrite, at the last minute, election rules that were agreed to long ago by the Governor and me in bipartisan fashion. Specifically, the McGrath campaign sued to:

  • be able to perform the governmental function of ‘complet[ing] ballot requests over the phone, just as Clerks are able to do,’ a conflict of interest that would be an invitation to election fraud.
  • extend the ballot request deadline to just two business days before the election, which would not allow time for ballots to be timely delivered to voters and then returned – thus confusing and disenfranchising voters on a mass scale.
  • strike down the security requirements established for ballot dropboxes.

“Most troubling is that the McGrath campaign took aim at the overall bipartisan agreement, seeking to have it declared unconstitutional, potentially invalidating the votes that hundreds of thousands of Kentucky voters already have cast safely from home.

“I will always defend the sanctity of our elections, and I am glad to have stopped a hypocritical lawsuit that was a direct threat to this election. Candidates should not attempt to game the electoral system to gain an advantage over their competitors, nor should they destabilize an already challenging election by trying to rig its rules mere days before it occurs. The McGrath campaign’s lawsuit was manifestly unfair to the Booker campaign, the Broihier campaign, and her other competitors, and repugnant to all Kentucky voters who want a fair election."

Press release from Secretary of State office