As campaign advertisements fill our mailboxes, television screens, radio waves, and streaming services, we are all well aware that the November election is less than three weeks away.
While I would never tell you who to vote for, I will tell you that it is incredibly important to participate in one of our nation’s oldest and most privileged practices. Remember, other countries do not have the luxury of voting, much less in a secure election.
This week, I would like to take the time to highlight down-ticket offices and their constitutional responsibility to the public. All too often we see names, faces, and titles, with little consideration of what our elected officials actually do for us.
Secretary of State:
Kentucky ’s constitution separates this office into three parts: the office of administration, the office of business, and the office of elections. They oversee a range of tasks, including, but not limited to, the management of our state’s elections. With this, the secretary of state also plays a pivotal role in the democratic process, overseeing voter registration as well as state candidate filings and general election administration. This is all in addition to their duty to manage the authenticity of public documents and the oversight of foreign affairs for the state.
Acting as our key financial administrator, the state treasurer plays a critical role in safeguarding and allocating state funds by making the appropriate deposits of incoming revenue into the corresponding accounts. Aside from this, the treasurer is also responsible for recording, monitoring, and reconciling all the state’s transactions in the depository and checking accounts. To do this, they
work in tandem with other state agencies to ensure proper allocations and advocate for transparent and accountable financial practices.
Commissioner of Agriculture:
The commissioner of agriculture plays an important part in the promotion of Kentucky’s foremost industr y. This office is responsible for helping shape policy that affects farmers, ranchers, and the agricultural sector from top to bottom. They also focus on agricultural sustainability, market development, and ensuring food safety and quality standards. In Kentucky, the commissioner of agriculture’s office also has the duty to inspect our fuel pumps at gas stations, and even rides at our local fairs.
As the state’s premiere legal figure and chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general is responsible for representing the state in legal matters and providing legal advice to state agencies and officials. They also oversee criminal prosecutions and hold a seat on the Prosecutors Advisory Council. The attorney general is also constitutionally obligated to appear in the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals in matters the commonwealth has a direct interest in. This office also manages
several public protection services, such as the state’s “Do Not Call” registry and the consumer complaints system.
State Auditor: Last but certainly not least, the auditor of public accounts supervises the accounting and financial functions of the state. Often times you will hear the term “watchdog” thrown into the description of auditor, as they watch over other state agencies by performing internal governmental audits. The duties of the state auditor and state treasurer may seem similar in nature, but they have two very different jobs. I like to think of it as the auditor being the state’s accountant, while the treasurer acts as the state’s banker.
While elections may seem overwhelming, I wholeheartedly believe we are blessed to live in a state and nation where we get to have a parting selecting who our leaders are. We have options in all the races on Nov. 7, and no matter who you are for, it is important that you make your way to a voting center to cast your ballot.
Check out the State Board of Elections at https://elect.ky.gov/ Voters/Pages/PollingLocations.aspx for a list of polling locations by county. The secretary of state’s website, https:// vrsws.sos.ky.gov/ovrweb/govoteky gives you an opportunity to view sample ballots by county.
As always, I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800- 372-7181. You can also contact me by e-mail at amy.neighbors@lrc. ky.gov and keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature’s website at legislature.ky.gov.