Here’s Your Comprehensive 2019 Voter Guide
Polls open on Tuesday, November 5 across Kentucky at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m local time. If you’re in line at 6 p.m., you will be allowed to vote. You can view your county's sample ballot, double-check whether you're registered to vote, and verify your polling location on the Secretary of State's website.
Acceptable forms of identification include a driver’s license, credit card, social security card, personal acquaintance of an Election Officer, any other identification with both your picture and signature or any U.S. government-issued ID card (for a full list of options, click here).
Tune in to WKMS on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. CT for a live election night special, hosted by Kentucky Public Radio member station WFPL, talking returns and what’s next for Kentucky.
This year’s ballot is pretty straightforward for most Kentuckians. You’ll see all of the state’s big constitutional offices: Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor of Public Accounts, State Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture. West Kentucky will also vote for a new Supreme Court of Kentucky Justice, representing the Kentucky Court of Justice's 1st District.
Click on the links below for profiles of each race:
This is the big-ticket race, as Republican Gov. Matt Bevin vies for a second term in office. His running mate has changed; Bevin has replaced current Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton with state Senator Ralph Alvarado on the ticket. His opponent is current Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear; he’s running with educator Jacqueline Coleman as his Lieutenant Governor.
Kentuckians will elect the state’s next chief elections officer. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has already served two terms and can’t seek a third. Vying to replace her are Democrat Heather French Henry and Republican Michael Adams. Henry has recently served as the commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. Adams is an election lawyer who previously served on the State Board of Elections.
Because current Attorney General Andy Beshear is in the race for governor, this seat is open, and Republicans are hoping to gain control of the office for the first time since 1947. Former Attorney General Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, is trying to win back the position. After leaving the office in 2008, he was the House Speaker until he lost his reelection bid in 2016. He’s running against Republican Daniel Cameron, a former general counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. If Cameron is elected, he’ll be the first African American to hold statewide office running on his own ticket. (Current Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton is the first African American to hold statewide office in Kentucky, but she was elected on a slate with current Gov. Matt Bevin.)
Commonly known as “state auditor,” this position heads an independent office tasked with reviewing accounts, financial transactions and the performance of all state government. Incumbent Republican Mike Harmon is seeking reelection; Democrat Sheri Donahue and Libertarian Kyle Hugenberg are challenging him for his seat.
Kentucky’s treasurer is responsible for making sure the state’s spending is legal and constitutional. Even though it’s a partisan race, the state treasurer is meant to serve as a watchdog over taxpayer dollars, no matter the political party in the legislature or who’s in the governor’s mansion.
The current state treasurer, Republican Allison Ball, is seeking reelection. She’s pointing to her work over the past four years to create a state spending transparency website, backing efforts to teach financial literacy in schools and catching fraud as reasons voters should give her another term. Her opponent is Democrat Michael Bowman, U.S. Bank branch manager in Louisville. Bowman recently also ran for Jefferson County Clerk last year, but lost to incumbent Bobbie Holsclaw. He wants Kentucky lawmakers to legalize gambling and marijuana to bring in additional tax revenue to help solve the state’s retirement pension crisis. He also wants to make a phone app for Kentuckians to more easily find out if they have unclaimed property.
Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture in many ways is a marketer and advocate for the various agricultural organizations and associations in the state. The department also helps farmers and businesses grow various crops, monitors the needs and health of agriculture in the state, regulates hemp growing licenses and even inspects 60,000 gas pumps across the state.
Current Commissioner of Agriculture, Republican Ryan Quarles, is seeking a second term. His challengers include Democrat Robert Haley Conway and Libertarian Josh Gilpin.
1st District Supreme Court of Kentucky Justice
West Kentucky also will vote for a new Supreme Court of Kentucky Justice this fall. Two candidates are vying for the nonpartisan seat this fall: 1st District Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Christopher Shea Nickell and Republican State Senator Whitney Westerfield.
Nickell has served on the Kentucky Court of Appeals since 2006 and has practiced law for 22 years, serving as a trial attorney, prosecutor and public defender. Nickell has cited that judicial experience as reasoning for his election over his opponent, saying he "became a judge the same year that Westerfield was sworn in as an attorney".
Sen. Westerfield has represented state Senate District 3, making up parts of Christian, Logan and Todd counties, since 2013, and serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has worked as a private attorney in Hopkinsville since 2006, and served as an assistant commonwealth's attorney for more than five years. Westerfield has repeatedly said he believes court systems across the country are "liberal" and "activist", and that his election would put a "constitutional conservative" on the bench.
See past reports on forums and the race between the candidates below:
"Kentucky Supreme Court Candidates Spar, Make Election Pitches At Paducah Forum" - September 5, 2019
"Kentucky Supreme Court Candidate's Rhetoric Raises Ethical Questions" - October 15, 2019
"Ky. Supreme Court Candidates Differ On Experience In Hopkinsville Forum" - October 17, 2019