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Absentee ballot requests, number of early in-person votes point towards historically high voter turnout for Kentucky's primary

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jun 16, 2020

(LEX 18) — Secretary of State Michael Adams believes voter turnout will be historically high for the June 23 primary, and 889,679 registered voters won’t have to leave their homes to cast their ballots.

Adams said that’s the number of registered voters who requested an absentee ballot before the June 15 deadline.

That number combined with the 48,044 people who voted early in-person is more than a quarter of all registered voters in Kentucky.

“[More than] 937,000 Kentucky voters have already either voted in person or requested their absentee ballot, and presumably will be voting soon,” said Adams.

That number will fluctuate in the coming days because more people will vote early in-person, and not all voters return their absentee ballots. Kentucky is also allowing people to vote in-person on Election Day, and the state does not know how many people will turn out that day.

However, as of Monday, 27% of registered voters in Kentucky were accounted for. Secretary Adams said turnout is already higher than past primaries.

“To put this in perspective, when I was on the ballot last year - we had competitive primaries for governor, secretary of state, and other offices - turnout was 19%. We’re already at about a quarter - over a quarter - of registered voters, and it’s still a week before Election Day.”

Adams said Franklin County is currently in the lead when it comes to voter turnout as 38% of voters in the county have either requested a ballot or voted early in-person. Woodford County is in second place with 32% voter turnout while Fayette County is in third place with 31%.

“Not all ballots requested necessarily will be cast, but also there are seven days left to vote in person, so these numbers will increase,” tweeted Adams.

Overall, Adams said people in urban areas are utilizing the option to vote absentee more than people in rural areas.

“In Larue County, for example, I think 9% of voters have either voted or asked for an absentee ballot versus 38% in Franklin. It’s a night and day difference,” said Adams.

Kentucky is allowing all registered voters to vote absentee in the primary due to the pandemic. The State Board of Elections created an online portal to make it easy for voters to request an absentee ballot. 770,859 people used the portal, according to Adams.