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Voting during the pandemic

Election 2020 Voting
Virus Outbreak Wisconsin
Posted at 7:30 AM, Apr 24, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Pandemic or no pandemic, at its core, America is a democratic nation which means Americans need to vote.

"No one gets anointed as the nominee or as the President. We actually vote, and we will be doing so, even during a pandemic," said University of Kentucky Law Professor Josh Douglas.

Specializing in election law and voting rights, Douglas explained his thoughts on what voting may look like in Kentucky for the Primary on June 23 and also for the Presidential election in November due to CDC social distancing recommendations.

He said, "My expectation is that anyone who votes wants to vote via mail. Anyone who wants to vote absentee will be able to do so. I believe there'll be an online portal where voters can request an absentee ballot. The State, I believe also plans to mail something to every voter whether it's an informational postcard or I've advocated for actually an absentee ballot request form."

As far as the date of the November election, Douglas explained the President does not have the power to change it. He said, "So many of our norms have been upended over the past several years, but the US Constitution very explicitly gives Congress and only Congress the authority to set the date of the presidential election. The President has no authority to do so."

Douglas says it is unlikely Congress would push back the November date.

"The absolute latest point is in the Constitution which is that the, well actually statute the Congress receives the electoral college votes by January 6 and counts them, and then on January 20 is when the President's first term ends so there's nothing that Congress could do beyond January 20th."

The Kentucky State Board of Elections is expected to meet Friday via Zoom. Many are hopeful the Board will finalize the plans for how Kentuckians will vote in Kentucky's Primary that is just two months away. To watch that meeting live at 10:00 a.m. Friday morning, go to Elect.Ky.gov for the livestream.

"Whatever's analysis in terms of the process and you know request you're absolutely out early so that you have time to research the candidates and make sure you return it on time. So just pay attention and stay educated as to the process and the State's going to try to, you know, provide that education and give as much lead time as possible," said Douglas.

In the meantime Douglas encourages everyone to go online to GoVoteKY.com to make sure they are registered to vote.

"I think the biggest questions from voters is how do we avoid being like Wisconsin, with a huge debacle that occurred there a couple weeks ago," stated Douglas. "So, you know, I think, you know, postponing the election early, like the Governor and the Secretary of State did was a good move to give time to figure this out and hopefully we'll have a good process moving forward."