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Beshear Bans Campaigning 100 Feet From Kentucky Polling Places


Gov. Steve Beshear this week signed off on an emergency administrative regulation to prevent campaigning within 100 feet of Kentucky’s polling places during the upcoming primary election.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned the state’s 300-foot buffer for campaigning near voting stations, effectively meaning that Kentucky now has no law on the matter.

The court ruled that the 300-foot buffer was unconstitutional because it was too broad and did not exempt private property owners.

The emergency administrative regulation enacting the 100-foot ban was approved by the state Board of Elections. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grames, Kentucky’s chief election officer and chair of the elections board, said the buffer zone is important in Kentucky, which has a history of election problems.

“The buffer zone was created for a reason: to eliminate what we have seen for many years, which is a propensity to increase fraud in our elections and ballot box,” Grimes said.

“We want voters to be able to go out and exercise their right to vote without fear of harm harassment or intimidation.”

The emergency administrative regulation lasts for 180 days, meaning the 100-foot ban will still be in effect for the general election in November.

The primary election is May 19. The ban does not include bumper stickers on motor vehicles within the 100-foot buffer zone.

This story was updated to note that the state Board of Elections approved the change.

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Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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