Mary Beth Sallee
Jobe Publishing, Inc.
A bipartisan agreement was reached between Democratic Governor Andy Beshear and Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams regarding the upcoming November General Election.
During his press conference on August 14, Governor Beshear explained that the agreement would allow Kentuckians to exercise their right to vote, as well as protect their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Secretary Adams and I were able to put partisanship aside and develop a plan for the General Election that puts the health and safety of Kentuckians first,” Beshear said. “This plan provides more time and options to vote in this General Election than ever before.”
Adams was also in attendance during the press conference last Friday and also stressed the importance of coming to an agreement despite party lines.
“Governor Beshear and I worked together across the partisan divide to fashion election rules that are fair to every voter regardless of party,” Adams said. “We kept the best of what worked in the June primary, especially giving voters options to safely cast their votes, and we built on that record with improvements: more in-person voting locations and faster election results.”
According to Governor Beshear, there are many more voting options available in Kentucky than in years prior.
In previous election years, state law only allowed for absentee ballots based upon disability, age, or illness. However, absentee voting is expanded for the upcoming election, allowing for pandemic concerns.
“Any voter of any age or health condition that believes he or she is at risk from COVID-19 can vote absentee,” Secretary Adams said.
Governor Beshear said that individuals should be able to request an absentee ballot by August 21, with the ballot being mailed to the individual’s home. Absentee ballots would need to be postmarked by no later than November 3 and received by no later than November 6. For those concerned about postal delays, drop boxes will be available.
The bipartisan agreement between the Governor and the Secretary of State also addressed early voting. The plan states that every workday and Saturday beginning October 13 through Election Day, each county clerk will designate a safe place to open for a minimum of four hours for voters to cast their ballots.
“For those that want to vote in person, it makes it safer,” Beshear said. “You can pick your time. We can significantly decrease the density.”
According to the election plan, each county will also have one voting “super-center” where anyone can vote on November 3 regardless of his or her precinct.
Below are the full details of the bipartisan election plan as stated per the Governor’s website:
Absentee Ballot by Mail
- Kentuckians concerned with contracting or spreading COVID-19 can request a ballot by mail.
- An online portal will launch within the week to allow Kentuckians to request a ballot by mail. Ballots can be requested through the portal through October 9 and through traditional means after.
- Mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3, and received by November 6.
- Drop boxes will be available for Kentuckians to return their mail ballots if they are concerned about postal delays. County clerks will determine these locations.
- Beginning October 13, three weeks before the election, every work day between October 13 and Election Day, and every Saturday for at least four hours, every county clerk will provide a location for safe in-person voting.
- Early voting is not absentee voting. Anyone can vote early for any reason.
Election Day Voting
- County election officials will decide election sites on Election Day. The State Board of Elections, Secretary of State, and Governor will approve each plan.
- Every county will have at least one voting super-center where everyone from the county can go to vote, regardless of his or her precinct.
- Kentuckians who were unable to get a driver’s license or photo ID due to the pandemic because their clerk’s office was closed or because they were afraid of exposing themselves to COVID-19, can sign a document explaining this concern and cast their ballot.
In the coming weeks, Governor Beshear, Secretary Adams, the State Board of Elections, and local election officials will all work together to educate Kentuckians on the election plan.
For more information regarding the state’s response to COVID-19 visit www.kycovid19.ky.gov.