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GOP Secretary of State who spoke out against election denial wins JFK Profile in Courage Award

Republican Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, who has worked to expand early voting in the Bluegrass State and has spoken out against election denial in his own party, has been chosen to host the election John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Award this year.

In its announcement Monday, the JFK Library Foundation said Adams was recognized “for expanding voting rights and standing up for free and fair elections despite party opposition and death threats from election deniers.”

Adams — whose main policy goal is making it easy to vote and hard to cheat — has been at the forefront of a bipartisan effort with the Democratic administration. Andy Beshear that led to the enactment of 2021 legislation allowing three days of no-excuse early in-person voting — including on Saturdays — before Election Day. Adams called it the most important update to Kentucky’s election law in more than a century. About a fifth of Kentuckians who voted in last year’s statewide election did so during the three days of early, in-person voting, Adams’ office said Monday.

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As his state’s chief election official, Adams has strongly pushed back against false claims of a rigged election, calling election skeptics “crazies and weirdos.”

“There’s a lot of irresponsible talk and demagoguery about the fact that we hacked the election,” Adams said in a 2022 interview on Spectrum News 1. “It’s all nonsense. Our elections have never been hacked and are not being hacked now.”

Adams was first elected in 2019 and won reelection last year by a wide margin after dominating his party’s primaries, including a challenger who promoted debunked election claims.

Adams, a native of Kentucky and a graduate of Harvard Law School, said Monday that Kennedy’s “admonition to put country before self still resonates today and is true now more than ever.”

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of election officials and poll workers across America who, inspired by his call, are sacrificing to keep the American experiment of self-government alive,” he added.

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Adams is part of an effort that began after the last presidential election and aims to bring together Republican officials willing to defend the nation’s election systems and the people who run them. They want officials to reinforce the message that elections are secure and accurate, which they say is especially important as the country heads into another divisive presidential battle in November.

“It’s an obligation for Republicans to stand up to defend our system, because our party — there’s some culpability for where we are today,” Adams said recently. “But it also makes strategic sense for Republicans to say, ‘Hey Republicans, you can rely on this.’ Don’t stay home. ”

At a recent campaign rally, former President Donald Trump — the presumptive Republican nominee for president this year — repeated his false claim that Democrats rigged the 2020 election.

Only 22% of Republicans were very confident that votes will be accurately counted in November, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll last year.

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Adams is seen as a potential candidate for governor in 2027, when he and Beshear will have term limits in their current jobs.

Honorary Chairman of the JFK Library Foundation Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, will present the award to Adams on June 9 at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

President Kennedy’s book, “Profiles in Courage,” tells the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking principled stands for unpopular positions. Previous winners of the Profile in Courage Award include former U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford, George HW Bush and Barack Obama.

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