Story by Mikayla Marshall, Staff writer
Secretary of State Alison Grimes came to Murray State Thursday as part of her GoVoteKY tour.
This spring, Kentucky joined 30 other states in the switch to an online voter registration to make it easier to register and update registrations.
Grimes has been traveling to Kentucky’s public universities to promote the online portal that launched three weeks ago. After speaking at Murray State, she traveled to Western Kentucky.
“We’re seeing a huge success with GoVoteKY.com,” Grimes said. “Over 15,000 Kentuckians that have gone online and registered to vote.”
At Murray State, Grime’s goal was to get that number up to 16,000. She said she didn’t want anyone to leave that room who was eligible to register without filling out the online form.
She said there are more than 800 newly-registered 18-year-olds because of the new system. She said she’s very proud that it is a system that is easy to use and everyone can access.
Kentucky is above the national average for voting registration, but only had a 30 percent turnout in the 2015-2016 State Governor election, according to the Kentucky State Board of Elections.
Grimes said Kentucky is making history by starting this portal and creating a better system for voting. She said the online form would help save time, money and improve accuracy. The goal is to have a higher number of Kentucky voters actually go vote. She said she wanted to see a 30 percent increase in actual turnout.
“I think a lot of people are unmotivated to vote, and this will increase voter registration since it is easier to go on the computer,” said Cameron McRoberts, freshman from Verona, Kentucky.
She said she is registered to vote, but if she weren’t, she would take advantage of GoVoteKY.com.
During her speech, Grimes had the room full of students and faculty get out their electronic devices and led them through how the online form works.
The online registration is similar to the print registration but doesn’t take as long to mail and file. Voters fill out the same information and have the option of signing with their driver’s license number or electronic signature.
The system isn’t compatible with Android devices, but the GoVoteKY team is working to fix it, she said.
Grimes made social media prevalent in her speech and asked the audience to share on social media the GoVoteKY campaign. She said social media is important when it comes to promoting and getting information to the audience.
“I think when you are trying to reach all Kentuckians you have to use all the resources that are available, realizing that sometimes paid media isn’t available at the state government level,” Grimes said. “We try to make sure that we are reaching out to all Kentuckians and make sure they are engaged and know that they have a Secretary of State that’s fighting for them.”
She said she hopes to expand the tour into high schools in the future to reach all the 18-year-olds eligible to vote.