In April, an executive order pushed the Kentucky Primary to June 23 because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus, offering absentee voting by mail and in-person absentee voting (June 8-13, June 15-20 and June 22), along with in-person voting at polling locations on Tuesday, June 23. Absentee ballots postmarked by June 23 and received by June 27 will be counted.
The primary will be deciding many things, but the focus seems to be on picking who will be running against Senate Majority Leader (possible turtle) Mitch McConnell in November: Democrat and former Marine Corps fighter pilot Amy McGrath or Democratic State Rep. Charles Booker from Louisville, who has gained traction after his support of protests against police brutality and racial injustice in his hometown.
Another big focus has been the lack of polling stations.
There has been public outcry, with celebrities and others taking to social media with the hashtag #AllEyesonKentucky to comment on the fact that there will only be one open polling location in Jefferson County (in Louisville) — at the Kentucky Exposition Center — and that the county is home to half of all Black Kentuckians.
The question of whether or not single polling locations count as voter suppression — particularly as it applies to Black, elderly and disabled voters — has been raised and several Kentucky counties sued as a result. But a judge ruled, "Plaintiffs' unsubstantiated criticism of the proposed practice is insufficient to meet their burden of establishing that the provision of a single polling place, in the context of a broad array of other available voting methods in the context of a global pandemic, will result in a racially disparate impact....Accordingly, the Court finds no Voting Rights Act violation."
According to Public News Service, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams told residents during an AARP Kentucky Tele-Town Hall why they would see far fewer polling locations this year than in years past.
"It takes 15,000 poll workers to run an election," he said. "The deadline for poll workers to be finalized was March 20, we didn't have remotely enough poll workers. We extended the deadline to April 24, still couldn't get poll workers. We just don't have enough poll workers to have a traditional election."
To assist at the poll locations that are open, Gov. Andy Beshear said more than 230 plain-clothed National Guardsmen would be out at polling stations in 45 counties to assist with traffic control, social distancing, sanitization and more. The state also provided 5,000 masks, 4,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 5,800 face shields and 20,000 gloves to poll workers across 120 counties.
“Though the election is (today), it has actually been going on about a month. Through an agreement with my office and the Secretary of State, we for the first time allowed mail-in voting and ‘no-excuse’ early voting in Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are on track to have a record number of votes in Kentucky in this primary election.”
The bipartisan agreement with Secretary of State Adams offered absentee voting for all Kentucky voters for the first time. Beshear said that, as of Monday, 883,054 absentee ballots had been requested, 88,530 people voted early and 452,305 ballots had been returned — numbers he said indicate this would be one of the highest voting totals for a state primary in years.
He also noted that all absentee ballots postmarked by June 23 will be counted. Kentuckians are also able to vote by appointment in person by calling their local county clerk office.
You can find all state polling locations at sos.ky.gov/elections/Pages/Polling-Locations.aspx.
Here are the locations in Northern Kentucky. Polling locations are open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Acceptable forms of ID, according to elect.ky.gov are: personal acquaintance of precinct officer, driver’s license, Social Security card, county issued identification card approved in writing by the State Board of Elections, U.S. government-issued identification card, Kentucky state government-issued identification card with picture, credit card, or another form of ID containing both picture and signature.
Boone County Extension Enrichment Center: 1824 Patrick Drive, Burlington
Boone County Administration Building (Fiscal Court Room 1st Room): 2950 Washington Square, Burlington
Cold Spring First Baptist Church: 4410 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring
Campbell County Administration Building: 1098 Monmouth St., Newport
Northern KY Convention Center: 1 West Rivercenter Blvd., Covington
Pendleton County Clerk's Office: 233 Main St., Falmouth