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Kentucky Accepting Applications From Voters Who Want A Mail-In Ballot For General Election

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Michael Adams
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Michael Adams

Kentucky voters can now go online and request a mail-in absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 general election.

The state portal that handles requests became available over the weekend and follows an agreement between Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear on election procedures.

Although the plan for the general election does not by the strictest definition provide for no-excuse absentee ballots, voters who have any concern about contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, may request a mail-in ballot.

“If you’re concerned about your health, you can vote absentee. You don’t have to tell your county clerk or me or anyone else what your health condition is,” Adams said during a joint announcement with the governor on Aug. 14. 

Voters can make their request at GoVoteKY.com.

They must have their Social Security number and date of birth to verify their identity. The online portal also allows voters to provide a phone number and email address so election officials are able to contact them in the event there is a problem with their application. 

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 9. The Kentucky Board of Elections expects the ballots to be mailed to voters in mid to late September. 

The state will cover postage if voters want to return their ballots in the mail. Ballot collection boxes will be provided statewide for those want to bypass the postal service to return their ballots. In the primary this year, the Christian County Clerk’s Office allowed voters to leave their ballots at the Sheriff’s Department drive-thru business lane or at the courthouse.  

Voters who want to cast their ballot in person will also have expanded opportunities through early, in-person voting that will begin in all counties Oct. 13.

The coronavirus pandemic has helped fuel a national debate over absentee voting and whether mail-in ballots are more susceptible to fraud. President Trump has been one of the most vocal critics of mail-in ballots, and polls show Republicans are more likely to distrust an expansion of absentee voting.

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released earlier this month found that 81% of Democrats favored allowing everyone to vote by mail this year, while 33% of Republicans said they favored this expansion of mail-in voting. 

Adams, who was elected Kentucky’s secretary of state last November, has said he’s under attack for his decision to allow easier access to mail-in ballots this year. He said recently his life has been threatened.

“I’ve taken immense heat for my decisions on how to make our elections safe and successful, but notice no one is arguing I’ve made these decisions in my own or anyone else’s political interests. Show me the door in 2023 but until then I’ll act on my knowledge and my conscience.” he said in an Aug. 17 Facebook post. 

(Jennifer P. Brown is the editor and founder of Hoptown Chronicle. Reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org.)

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