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Kentucky Primary Election agreement reached

Election 2020 Voting
Posted at 8:37 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 18:43:37-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams posted on Twitter Friday that an agreement has been reached for the manner voting will be conducted in this year's Primary Election.

On March 16, it was announced that Kentucky's Primary Election would be moved from May 19 to June 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During recent press conferences, Governor Andy Beshear has been asked if voting would be conducted virtually. He announced that he and Secretary of State Adams were in talks of a plan.

Below is a look at the announcement from Secretary of State Adams.

It's reported that Secretary Adams sent Governor Beshear a letter of recommendation Thursday. Governor Andy Beshear issued an Executive Order Friday that outlines the election procedures that will be used in June.

“Today’s Executive Order and regulations that will be created by the Kentucky State Board of Elections will allow all Kentuckians who are registered to vote for the upcoming primary to vote by mail through an absentee ballot,” said Governor Beshear. “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.”

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

Governor Beshear, as well as the State Board of Elections will be working on a plan to conduct limited in-person voting and possible drive-thru voting options for people who cannot vote by mail.

Friday afternoon, Secretary of State Adams released more information about the upcoming election.

“This plan fulfills my promise to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” said Adams. “Through expanding absentee voting – with appropriate safeguards – limiting the number of polling sites, and adopting in-person voting methods that limit personal contact, we prevent Mother Nature from disenfranchising Kentucky voters, while we also protect the lives of both our voters and our poll workers.”

“This plan is not vote-by-mail, West Coast-style,” Adams continued. “This plan has ballot integrity built in, and for the first time in a decade cleans up our voter rolls, a signal accomplishment.”

Secretary of State Adams listed these points about the upcoming election:

  • The "medical emergency" basis in the current law for absentee voting will now include "a reasonable fear of infection or transmission during a state of public health emergency declared by the Governor." The current requirement for a "medical emergency" absentee voter to notarize an application will be waived.
  • In-person early voting will be made available by June 8, then will run through June 23. The voting practices will follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control guidance, and will make sure materials are available for proper sanitization. Officials say that by expanding the number of election days, County Clerks will be able to keep polling lines manageable and safe.
  • County clerks will be allowed to reduce the number of sites for in-person voting on election day.
  • State election officials will notify each registered voter by mail of the options to vote absentee.
  • State officials will make a secure online portal to request an absentee ballot. The voter will be required to prove their identity. Voters may also use traditional methods to request an absentee ballot.
  • Officials will create a process to track absentee ballots requested, sent and received.
  • The processing and counting of ballots may begin as soon as June 1. Counting will be complete by June 30. No results will be reported before 6:00 p.m. on June 23.
  • County clerks will be tasked to match the signature on an absentee ballot to the voter's signature on record.
  • In an effort to clean up the state's voter rolls, the state will contact registered voters who have moved out-of-state to get permission to remove them from the rolls.