ANDERSON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky presented its county clerks with a challenging task to develop a safe voting plan for the 2020 General Election. They had the state's new rules to follow, but other than that, execution of the voting plan was in their hands.
So, Anderson County Clerk Jason Denny got to work. His goal was to find an easy and convenient voting method that would keep the voters in his area safe during the pandemic. He thought a good way to do that would be a drive-thru.
"How neat that would be? To be able to pull through, and (be) outside the elements, and vote from your car," said Denny.
Denny's idea was approved, and Anderson County tested it out during the primary using a one-lane drive-thru. The system turned out to be a success, but Denny knew voter turnout would be higher in the general election, so he would need a bigger location to pull it off.
"The city mayor called me one day, and it was like a Christmas present," said Denny. "He said I've got a building for you to come and look at - four lanes, pull through, 12 cars inside at a time."
With a good venue in place, the drive-thru opened on October 13th. So far, voters say they like this concept.
"It was excellent," said Pamela Crepps after she voted on Wednesday. "Fast and easy, and I can't wait to go home and tell my husband about it."
"This should be a model for all counties," said Billy Flint after he voted. "I'm telling you - it's about as easy as it gets, and it gives everybody the opportunity to get out and exercise their right to vote."
The Anderson County Clerk says more than 3,000 people have voted in this election using the drive-thru.
The process is straightforward, and multiple people are allowed in one vehicle.
"Voter pulls in inside the building - it's a pull-through building," explained Denny. "Present your ID. They will be presented with their ballot for their particular precinct on a clipboard with an ink pen."
"They will mark their ballot from the seat of their car," said Denny. "Once they're through, they will keep the ink pen and give us the clipboard back to sanitize, and they will insert the ballot into the scanner from the seat of their car - just like they would if they walked into a facility on Election Day."
On average, Denny says people are done with the process in less than two minutes.
"Very easy," said David Kinder after he voted on Wednesday. "Just show your driver's license and fill out your ballot, register it, (and I'm) on my way."
Currently, the drive-thru option is the only way people in Anderson County can vote early in-person. On Election Day, however, there will be a drive-thru option and a walk-in option.
Denny says if someone doesn't have a vehicle, they will help them out.
"We have a machine where they could walk-in and mark their ballot in that case," said Denny. "They can get out and get into this facility. We will make accommodations for that."
However, due to the lack of parking space in the area, Denny hopes to keep this option limited to the few who really need it.