Auditor releases election leave report, finds discrepancies

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state auditor has released the results of a report on election leave by state employees during the 2015 general election and the 2016 primary election.

According to auditor Mike Harmon’s office, during those two elections, as many as 1,329 public employees claimed four hours of paid election leave but were not entitled to it. Of that total, 1,176 of those employees took paid election leave, but records indicate they did not vote in one or both elections examined. Harmon says the potential cost to Kentucky taxpayers for improper voting leave is more than $102,000 in wages.

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The auditor’s report presents summary information on the findings related to voting leave usage. The individual instances of election leave discrepancies are considered preliminary pending follow-up and investigation, and are being provided to the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet to instruct state agencies on the appropriate follow-up actions to take.

According to Harmon’s office, there were also multiple discrepancies with Kentucky’s voter registration system, or VRS. Among the issues identified included one state employee who appeared in their county election precinct book twice in the same election, but did not receive credit for casting a ballot. In addition, the report found that social security numbers within VRS are not being validated or used consistently in the registration process.

Auditors also found two public employees who were registered to vote in two different counties, one in both Harlan and Fayette, and the other on election register books for both Morgan and Fayette during the 2015 general election.

This is the third time the office of the auditor of public accounts has conducted an election leave report, and the first since 2007.