"The reason this is going on across the state is so the campaigning doesn't interfere with voting and the voting election officers can conduct the election accurately," said Thomas.
Leslie County Clerk James Lewis told members of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government that the Kentucky County Clerks Association believes a 300-foot restriction could be upheld in court. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that Kentucky's ban on electioneering within 500 feet of a polling place is unconstitutional.
That ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.
"Using the decisions of prior cases of the Supreme Court and appellate courts across the country, we feel we now have a plan the courts would uphold as constitutional," said Lewis. "I'm not sure that if the Supreme Court hears this particular case, they won't
overturn the appellate decision here."
Lewis stressed that the 300-foot restriction should be a minimum to be effective. Thomas said, "If you have no restrictions, there isn't anything saying that those who are campaigning won't come right up to the doors to pass out cards and information. Most people going to the poles don't want to feel intimidated and bombarded."
Thomas will be asking the Court Chairman for the County Board of Elections to adopt this law for Trigg County at the next Fiscal Court meeting. "We just really feel it will be less disruptive to the election process," she said.
Imposing a 300-foot electioneering ban is only part of KCCA's Legislative agenda. Lewis told lawmakers that the association is also requested legislation to address local option election filing deadlines and the use of cell phones and other telecommunications
devices at polls.
KCCA is also asking lawmakers to increase the minimum pay for election officers from $60 to $100 per day and increase the amount that the state reimburses to a county treasurer from $300 to at least $700 per precinct.