Ballot seizure – blatant, unethical, and possibly illegal


I have been accused more than once of not being partisan enough, or mean enough. I tend to give everyone, including political opponents, some grace, as we are all fallible humans.

But the actions of the Republican majority in the Glenn case are some of the most blatant, power-driven, and unethical acts I’ve ever seen. It is a political power play of the worst kind, destroying both the chain of custody and the public’s faith in the process. And it may be illegal, on top of it all. (Ballot tampering, anyone?)

If the committee hearing the challenge wanted to examine the absentee ballots, there were multiple ethical and transparent ways they could have done that. The chair could have raised the issue, the committee could have agreed on a process that maintained an independent chain of custody of the ballots, and they could have examined them together, as a committee. (I will note that it seems clear to me that if the local bipartisan board of elections have ruled the ballots as unacceptable, I’m not sure an ad hoc committee in Frankfort has the ability or the right to overturn that. But, IANAL.)

Instead, the Republican chair of the committee, without discussing it with the Democrats, sent state troopers to Owensboro to seize the ballots and bring them back to Frankfort. At the point, or even along the way, the ballots could have been altered, defaced, or even replaced. (And if you think wholesale replacement is not possible, you haven’t used Photoshop and modern printers.)

This is a clumsy, pathetic political power play, carried out by persons who know they don’t have a case, and are determined to steal the seat regardless. It is unworthy of the people of Kentucky, and reinforces an image of Frankfort politicians as back-room, immoral hacks.

If Speaker Osborne wants to have a different legacy than what I just described, he should step in, tell the Republicans on the committee (especially the chair, Petrie) to stop their shenanigans and act like responsible adults, and find the ballots and put them under the control of the state Board of Elections. Then he should work with the BOE and the committee to decide if the ballots can even be examined, or if the law makes clear that the Owensboro board of elections decisions regarding the ballots are final.

Otherwise, it will be yet another example of what happens when power, and not public service, becomes the only factor that matters.


Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs ( and He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016. He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.