FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill to limit the secretary of state's influence over the daily operations of the State Board of Elections.
The 27-8 vote Tuesday by the Republican-led Senate was a rebuke of the current secretary of state, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The bill now goes to the GOP-run House.
The bill would apply to Grimes and future secretaries of state.
Grimes cannot seek re-election this year because of term limits.
The measure would eliminate the secretary of state's access to the state's voter registration rolls. It also would remove the secretary of state as chairperson of the State Board of Elections.
The bill stems from allegations that Grimes had staff search the voter registration system for information about hundreds of state workers and political rivals.
Grimes released a response after the move.
"This legislation will disrupt Kentucky’s 2019 elections,” Grimes said. “I am disappointed that the Republican majority is attempting to polarize the fair and impartial administration of elections in Kentucky by stripping the Secretary of State’s Office of its ability to discharge the legal duties of the Commonwealth’s Chief Election Official. I will carefully review any legislation enacted and take all legal actions necessary to preserve the integrity of Kentucky’s elections. The Republican effort to now change the laws applicable to the Secretary of State’s Office makes clear that my office has at all times discharged its duties in compliance with existing law.”