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Kentucky Will Allow Voting By Mail For Everyone In June 23 Primary

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  Kentucky is expanding absentee voting during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing every voter to cast a ballot by mail or vote early during the state primary elections on June 23.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams announced the changes on Friday.

In a statement, Beshear said that the State Board of Elections is working on a plan to also conduct limited in-person voting with the possibility of a drive-through option.

“While there will be significant education and work required, we are committed to making sure this election will be held in a safe manner, while we are in this worldwide health pandemic,” Beshear said.

Beshear issued an executive order Friday morning outlining the changes.

Voters will have to request mail-in ballots in a portal on the State Board of Elections website by June 16 and send them in to their county clerk. Mail-in ballots will have to be postmarked by June 23 and be received within 3 days of Election Day. In-person voting, with the possibility of drive-through voting, will be allowed by request starting June 8 for those who need to vote in person. Post cards will be sent out to Kentucky voters explaining the changes.

Secretary of State Adams wrote a letter formally recommending the changes to Beshear on Thursday.

“Voters across the political spectrum will be pleased with this plan to protect both democracy and public health,” Adams said in a statement. “I’m grateful to Governor Beshear for his leadership, and his working in good faith with me toward ensuring a successful and safe election.”

State lawmakers voted earlier this month to allow Beshear to expand absentee voting, but requiring Adams to sign off on any emergency orders dealing with elections. Beshear vetoed the language requiring Adams’ approval, but was overridden by the legislature.

Kentuckians will weigh in on races for the presidency, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state legislature and several local offices.

This story has been updated.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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