State board votes to remove Kenton County elections board representative Skip to content

State board votes to remove Kenton County elections board representative

The Kenton County Democrats succeeded in removing their representative to the county board of elections, but only after a Leslie County Republican helped them along the way.

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The Kenton County Democrats succeeded in removing their representative to the county board of elections, but only after a Leslie County Republican helped them along the way.

The State Board of Elections voted in favor of a request from the Kenton County Democrats to remove Sarah Rogers as the Democratic representative to the Kenton County Board of Elections, ending a months-long battle between the county party and the state board of elections.

But only after former Leslie County Clerk James Lewis, a Republican, provided the deciding vote to agree with the Kenton Democrats’ request.

Lewis couldn’t be reached for comment.

The board voted 5-3 to remove Rogers. Four Democrats and Lewis voted in favor of the Kenton Democrats’ request to remove Rogers.

If Lewis hadn’t provided the tie-breaking vote, it would have ended 4-4, and the chair, who is Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, would have provided the tie-breaking vote.

Adams didn’t favor removing Rogers and would have likely voted to keep her on the county board.

The state board then voted in the Kenton County Democrats’ new representative, Bryce Rhoades, a Covington-based attorney and the former Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Covington.

“The Kenton County Democrats thank the members of the State Board of Elections who stood up for our local, bipartisan system of election administration,” said Dave Meyer, vice chair for the Kenton County Democrats. “We look forward to working with our new representative on the Kenton County Board of Elections to protect the right to vote in Kenton County.”

The decision from the state board came after the county party requested Rogers’ removal, but the county board of elections, which is primarily Republican, didn’t want that to happen, so they sent letters to the state board of elections asking them not to remove her.

At a March 8 meeting, the Kenton County Democrats voted 17-0 to remove Rogers as their board of elections representative — but county elections officials disagreed with the attempted removal.

The county board is comprised of Republican Gabrielle Summe, the county clerk; Scott Kimmich, the Republican party representative; Rogers; and Republican Chuck Korzenborn, the Kenton County sheriff.

In response to the March vote from the Kenton Democrats, Summe, Kimmich, and Korzenborn wrote letters in support of Rogers to the state board of elections — the organization that holds the ultimate power over whether or not to remove a member from a county board of elections.

Adams wouldn’t add the removal to the agenda at the April state board meeting. Instead, the state board of elections passed on the agenda item until the June meeting.

Summe spoke in the April meeting and said she hoped the state board read the letters of support.

“I find that trying to remove somebody without really good cause, without good reason, is because, maybe, they feel like they agree with me too much is petty,” Summe said. “It’s punitive, and it’s destabilizing right before an election.”

Adams further advocated for not removing Rogers in the June meeting, arguing that it sets a dangerous precedent because if there’s political division in a party, they shouldn’t be able to remove a representative to the board of elections.

“I don’t think we need to be firing competent people who are running elections right now,” Adams said. “It is a bad signal.”

Adams recently compared the situation to when the Boone County Republicans tried to remove their representative in 2022.

“We have kind of a mirror image situation of people who are political activists that want to fire legitimate election administrators that they appointed themselves for not being partisan enough or ideological enough,” Adams said last month.

Meyer pointed to a similar situation in 2021 when the State Board of Elections voted to remove a Democratic member from Breathitt County — a point further reiterated by board member Ben Chandler in the June meeting.

“We do have a precedent a couple of years ago if I’m not mistaken, Mr. Chairman, and that was in Breathitt County,” Chandler said.

Adams wasn’t the chair of the state Board of Elections at the time due to the legislature enacting an order keeping the position from acting as chair due to former Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes’ ethics issues.

The state board consists of Adams and eight members appointed by the governor. Both political parties in the commonwealth submit lists via the Kentucky County Clerks Association.

“It’s a shame that the Governor’s appointees on the State Board of Elections voted over my objection to fire experienced election officials without cause, upon the demand of partisan interests,” Adams said. “We need less partisanship in the election process, not more.”

Rogers said she’s already reached out to Rhoades and offered support.

“I am confident the County Board of Elections will continue Kenton County’s history of running secure, fair, and honest elections,” Rogers said.

Summe said she looks forward to working with the new member but is unhappy with the state board’s vote to remove Rogers.

“I am saddened by the State Board of Elections vote to remove Sarah Rogers,” Summe said. “She was an excellent and engaged member of the County Board of Elections.”

The county Democrats now move forward with Rhoades as their new representative.

“Election plans are due to Frankfort on Aug. 9, and we will ensure that the public, for the first time, has a voice in the process,” Meyer said.


Written by Mark Payne. Cross-posted from Link NKY.

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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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