KY COVID-19 Litigation

Sterne vs Adams

Despite the success of expanded, no-excuse absentee voting in Kentucky’s June primary election state officials have not taken action to use the same rules to make voting safe for the general election during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this inaction, Fair Elections Center, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and Kaplan Johnson Abate & Bird LLP filed a case in state court to force the state to use the same successful process and ensure a safe election in November.


In May, Gov. Beshear issued an executive order to hold Kentucky's June 23 primary predominantly by mail. Under the administrative rule subsequently adopted by the Board of Elections, every registered Kentucky voter qualified to vote by mail. If they wanted to vote in person, they had to make an appointment with their clerk's office. In the days before Election Day, Secretary of State Michael Adams issued an executive order clarifying that people who did not receive their absentee mail-in ballot could vote in person.


The plaintiffs argue that these same rules should apply for November’s general election.




Complaint  (7.7.20)

First Amended Complaint  (7.31.20)

Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary Injunction  (7.31.20)

Secretary of State 2020 General Election Manner Recommendation  (8.14.20)

Executive Order 2020-688  (8.14.20)


        Press Release -- Kentucky's Inaction to Use Primary Election's Same Successful
        Vote by Mail Rules for November Draws Lawsuit  (7.7.20)

        Louisville Courier Journal (7.7.20)

        Lexington Herald Leader (7.8.20)

        Press Release -- Emergency Rules Agreement Between Beshear, Adams
        Ensures Safer Election for Kentucky Voters  (8.14.20)