Voters in Kentucky break record for registration ahead of 2020 election

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A record number of Kentuckians are registered to vote, just in time for Sen. Mitch McConnell's reelection race.

A record number of Kentucky residents are registered to vote as of Jan. 31, Secretary of State Michael Adams (R) announced on Tuesday.

More than 3.4 million Kentuckians are now registered, marking a new high for the state.

In his statement, Adams encouraged "every eligible person who is not registered to vote to do so by April 20, the last day to register to vote in the May 19 primary."

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According to the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office, 48% of Kentucky voters are registered as Democrats, 43% are Republicans, and 9% are "listed under other affiliations."

Adams said Kentucky had "relatively high voter turnout in 2019" and he hopes "Kentuckians will show up strong at the polls" this year to select both a president and senator as well as state officials.

In 2019, Kentucky voters ousted Republican Matt Bevin from the governor's mansion, voting for Democrat Andy Beshear. In one of his first acts as governor, Beshear signed an executive order restoring the voting rights to roughly 100,000 nonviolent felons in the state.

In November, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be on the ballot, likely facing Democrat Amy McGrath. McGrath raised nearly $17 million in the last six months of 2019 in her bid to unseat McConnell, according to Newsweek.

First elected to the Senate in 1984, McConnell faces some headwinds this year, even in a state that supported Trump by a 30-point margin in 2016. According to Morning Consult, McConnell is the second least popular senator in the county, bested only by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in that category. While 50% of Kentuckians disapprove of McConnell, only 37% approve.

Among independents in the state, 22% more disapprove of McConnell than approve of him.

As voters register in record numbers, Jared Dearing, the executive director of the state's Board of Elections, told a Kentucky state legislative subcommittee on Tuesday that Kentucky's systems are regularly scanned by foreign actors such as Russia and North Korea. Dearing, a Democrat, plans to hire an information security officer to help protect the state's voting infrastructure.

Dearing's warning of foreign interference came less than a week after the McConnell-led Senate blocked three election security bills from moving forward.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.