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County clerk: Low number of absentee ballot requests will strain in-person voting

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Posted at 2:48 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 14:48:53-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fayette Co. clerk: low number of absentee ballot requests will strain in-person voting

The Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins said the county received a total of 95,162 absentee ballot requests for the general election.

He called the number disappointing.

"I was hoping for another 10,000 to 15,000 at least," Blevins said. "Hopefully even north of that, but we fell short of my hopes."

He said the low number of requests will, in turn, strain in-person voting.

"If you run the math for everything working absolutely perfectly, one voter after another, we're just right at the maximum capacity of these locations for the amount of remaining voters that I think we're going to have."

The number of polling locations also complicates the issue. Fayette County usually has more than 100. This year there will be eight because of the effects of the coronavirus.

Statewide, the picture is a bit more complicated.

The Secretary of State's Office reported 658,068 absentee ballot requests.

Election law expert and University of Kentucky professor Joshua Douglas said he is slightly disappointed with that number.

"I was a little disappointed because that's lower than the total number of absentee votes in the June primary," Douglas said.

In the primary, more than 800,000 absentee ballots were issued to voters.

However, with significantly expanded voting options, he said it is hard to predict how the voting process will play out this year.

"Perhaps these numbers won't be bad because tons of voters will show up in person, and they'll be spread out throughout three weeks, including three Saturdays," Douglas said. "We've never had early voting for anyone who wanted to vote early. We've never had expended absentee voting like we had in June and like we will have in November."

Douglas suggests that all voters make a plan. Decide where and when you will vote, and then act on that plan.

Voters can also prepare for the polls by having their identification ready and reading the lengthy constitutional ballot measures before hearing to the polls.

Click here for more information on where to vote and what to bring.