Fired elections staffer alleges improper voter data access
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky State Board of Elections staff member fired this week accused the Secretary of State’s Office of improperly gathering voter information during campaigns.
Matthew Selph, the state board’s assistant to the director, was fired Tuesday along with executive director Maryellen Allen. The Republican wrote a 17-page letter to four of six board members Oct. 21 alleging that Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, granted staff improper access to the voter registration system, The Lexington Herald Leader reported .
Grimes’ communications director, Bradford Queen, said in a statement Thursday that Selph’s letter “made several politically motivated and spurious allegations about her.”
Selph, a Republican, alleged that Grimes had only paid the $450 fee to access voter information once, despite running two statewide campaigns.
Queen said candidates in Kentucky have many alternatives to obtaining voter data, including purchasing it from the State Board of Elections or getting it from political parties. He said Grimes, in her capacity as a candidate, would have no reason to obtain voter data by other means.
Selph also levied several accusations of Grimes’ office exerting undue authority over the staff of the bipartisan state board of elections. He said Grimes approved a $150,000 contract for consulting services with an outside agency, taking that step without the board’s approval and against the wishes of board staff.
Queen said in an emailed statement Thursday that minutes from a February State Board of Elections meeting “reflect that the board took appropriate action to engage with the consultant,” CyberScout. Queen added that the Finance and Administration Cabinet approves all contracts, “and did so in this case.”
Queen said the board’s decision to terminate Selph and Allen’s employment didn’t include Grimes’ vote. Grimes, who chairs the board, has said the decision was bipartisan and the staff members’ services were no longer needed.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com