LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As organizers plan more protests in Lexington, the mayor is encouraging everyone to vote in three weeks.
"Its one of the most important things we do," said Mayor Linda Gorton. "In recent days, many people have marched in our streets to bring about change. Another way to make change is through voting."
However, voting in this primary will be different because of COVID-19. This year, Kentucky is allowing all voters to vote by mail using an absentee ballot.
Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins Jr., who supervises elections in Fayette County, is encouraging people to utilize that option.
"I'm going to ask Lexingtonians to do the right thing and to vote from the comfort of their own kitchen table," said Blevins. "It couldn't be easier."
Blevins says voters must request an absentee ballot by June 15. The easiest way to get a ballot is to request one at govoteky.com. Fayette County residents can also request a ballot by phone at 859-253-3344.
Once you have a ballot, fill it out carefully.
"Be very careful to follow the directions exactly," said Blevins. "You must follow the directions all the way, or it's possible your vote may not be counted if you make a mistake. So take your time. Make sure you follow the directions exactly."
Once you complete your ballot, sign and seal the inner and outer envelopes and drop it in the mail as soon as possible. The ballot must be postmarked by June 23 to be counted. Postage is provided, so you will not need to spend any money.
If you cannot mail in your absentee ballot, there are two drop-off locations for Fayette County residents.
- June 15-22 at the President's Pavilion outside Gate 9 at Kroger Field (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
- June 23 at the Commonwealth Tower Lobby between Gates 10 and 11 at Kroger Field
Blevins says as of June 3, 46,000 people in Fayette County have requested an absentee ballot.
"That's outstanding," said Blevins. "We are in the top three in the state for response rate. I want to be number one. And here's why - that's what's going to keep us safe."
Blevins says voting by mail not only keeps voters safe, but it also protects elderly election workers.
"I want to remind everyone that's why we're doing this," said Blevins. "It's not got anything to do with politics. It has everything to do with saving lives."
However, not everyone can or wants to vote by mail. So, Fayette County has other voting options available.
Those who cannot vote by mail and need special accommodations can make an appointment to vote at the Lexington Senior Center June 8-23. Voting is by appointment only. You can call 859-253-3344 to schedule one in advance.
"I want to restrict this to only those who really need it," said Blevins.
On Election Day, Fayette County will also have one voting location open for in-person voting: Kroger Field.
The voting location will be open from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. Voters can park in the Blue Lot and enter the stadium through Gate 10 or 11.
"I would really prefer people not to use this method. I know there are some people who feel strongly they want to vote in person - that's okay. But know the risk that you're taking and the risk that you're putting the election workers [in] - that's not okay," said Blevins. "So, I would really prefer everyone vote by mail."
Blevins also announced that election results will not be available on election night.
"Results will be unlike what we're used to. As you know, normally on election night, results trickle in. It's kind of exciting. It's usually over by 8 or 9 o'clock. That is not going to happen," said Blevins.
"What will happen is we will probably still be counting thousands and thousands of ballots for the following days," said Blevins.
Blevins expects to have results finalized and made public on June 30.
"We have to have our results by June 30, so I am planning to count ballots every day, including Saturday and Sunday before June 30," said Blevins.