Voter registration, so easy you never have to leave home

Andrew Henderson

The online voter registration system for Kentucky rolled out on March 1. Since then Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Grimes, has been touring universities around the state hosting online voter registration forums.

Grimes has already held forums at the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University. She began her tour of state universities on March 16. Today she’ll be going to Murray State University before coming here to WKU. You can catch her here start at 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in Downing Student Union room 3020.

An online voter registration system was something that Grimes spoke about being rolled out for this year’s presidential elections in September of last year, according to the Herald-Leader.


“Electronic voter registration will truly level the playing field for all eligible voters while simultaneously saving taxpayer money and yielding more accurate records,” Grimes said in September to the Herald-Leader.

Voters can use the online system to change existing registration information, such as political party affiliation or update their address to a more current one. Before the new system, voters had to change their voting information by mail or in person using voter registration cards. As of April 6, a total of 31 states including the District of Columbia offer online registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Grimes has taken to her Twitter account, @KySecofState, over the past month to outline the steps involved with online registration.

The first step seems simple enough, go to If you’re able to turn on a computer, connect to the Internet, open a web browser and type the address you’re already one-third of the way there of being a registered voter.

The second step is filling out the form on the website and submitting the application. This step is a little big longer than the first step, but there’s at least an added convenience of being able to do it from home.

The form has you verify that you are an eligible voter in the state of Kentucky. To qualify there are six criteria you have to meet such as being “at least 18 years of age on or before the next general election” or having not been judged as “mentally incompetent” in a court of law.

Next you provide your social security number and your date of birth. From there you’re asked to provide your driver’s license, or Personal ID, number to “allow your signature to be transfered to this application.” Also, I realize the word “transferred” is misspelled, but the partial quote came directly from the voter registration website.

If you don’t have a Kentucky driver’s license, or Personal ID, you can still sign the application by providing your digital signature. From there you’re free to change your political party, confirm your address and you’re done.

The third step is receiving your voter confirmation card in the mail. Avoiding registering to vote just became more difficult because now you can register to vote without ever having to change out of your pajamas or, dare I say, have to talk to a government employee.

Grimes coming to WKU on Thursday serves as a great precursor to Ari Berman’s 7:30 p.m. lecture “Give Us the Ballot: Power, Privilege & Democracy” later that night in Mass Media and Technology Hall auditorium. Berman is the author of “Give Us the Ballot,” and is a senior contributing writer for the “Nation” magazine.

In a review by Wendy Smith of the Los Angeles Times, Smith argues that “Give Us the Ballot” makes a strong case of how voting rights are under attack in 21st century America. In his book, Berman demonstrates how efforts to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for minority voters are not new. In fact, the first legal challenge to the law was filed five days after President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law.

Voting, one could say, is the cornerstone of our democracy. If not the cornerstone that at least an integral stone to the foundational structure of democracy. If democracy were a game of Jenga then voting rights would be the one piece you couldn’t afford to take out.

I encourage you to register to vote if you haven’t already, and to examine the laws and structures that the concept of voting benefits and those that it does not.