Strong early showing for absentee ballot requests


FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Kentuckians have been flocking to the online portal that allows them to request an absentee ballot for the June 23 primary election.

Although they have only been available since last Friday, Secretary of State Michael Adams says that as of 12:30 (EDT) Tuesday afternoon, 100,000 registered Kentucky voters have gone to to request that an absentee ballot be mailed to them.

The coronavirus has played a role not only in when the election will take place, but the manner in which it will be conducted.

After Adams, in his role as Kentucky’s chief election officer, sent a letter to Gov. Andy Beshear recommending the election be postponed from May 26, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor issued an executive order implementing the change.  In a show of bipartisanship, Adams, a Republican, and Beshear, a Democrat, have worked together on ironing out election-related issues.  

Kentucky has had absentee voting available for a long time but, up until now, there had to be an excuse to obtain a ballot, such as age, illness or being out of town on election day.  That requirement was eased for this year’s primary.

“Voting absentee is easy, secure and wildly popular,” Adams said. “I’m grateful to the Kentuckians who understand that we have fewer voting locations available and fewer poll workers available because of COVID-19 – not only are these Kentuckians being good citizens by voting, but by voting absentee they’re being good citizens in relieving the pressure on our voting locations and our poll workers.” 

For those who prefer to cast a ballot in person, Adams says to call their county clerk’s office so they can make an appointment to vote. 

“We’re not going to turn away voters who don’t have an appointment, but we are encouraging people, if they can, to make an appointment, so we can stagger out voters and avoid crowds.”

If voters still prefer to vote in person on Election Day itself, there will be a limited number of locations in every county. 

“It’s just not feasible for us to have in-person Election Day at 3,600 precinct voting locations and 15,000 poll workers,” Adams said.  “We don’t have enough locations that can enable social distancing and we don’t have enough volunteers to be poll workers.”

For those who use the absentee ballot request portal, Adams notes the process is secure:

--It requires a voter to verify identity with date of birth and social security number

--Ballot envelopes have bar codes for tracking

--Election officials will verify that each voter signature on an absentee ballot envelope matches the voter’s signature on record

Absentee ballots may also be obtained from a voter’s county clerk in person, or by phone, fax or email. Absentee ballots are treated as securely and secretly as any other ballot and can be either delivered by a voter personally to the county clerk’s office or mailed back in a postage pre-paid envelope.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the June 23 election is Monday, June 15.

While May 26 is the normal date for Kentucky’s Primary Election, this year it is serving as the deadline to register to vote. Through the end of April, Kentucky had 3,468,647 registered voters.


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