Senator Albert Robinson

SENATOR ALBERT ROBINSON: A DIFFERENT LOOKING ELECTION AHEAD DUE TO COVID-19

Kentuckians will cast their primary election votes on June 23. The circumstances are another example of how our lives have been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health is at the center of decision-making, and arrangements are being made to allow you to vote absentee or in person.  Originally, the primary election was set to be held on May 19, but the election was rescheduled due to COVID-19.  

First, I believe it is important to clear up some confusion. This is not just “mail-in voting” as it is seen in some West Coast states where ballots are broadly distributed to voters. Instead, Kentucky is expanding the existing “absentee voting” option to allow people the opportunity to cast their vote from the safety of their home. This is not a new option, and there are several measures in place to protect our elections integrity. For example: 

1. No ballot will be sent to a voter unless they complete an application.  

2. Voters' signatures must be verified. Absentee ballot signatures must match the voter's signature on record. 

3. A bar code accompanies each ballot so that the state can monitor ballots when they are requested, sent, and received.  

I believe we would all prefer traditional voting. While I am disappointed in these circumstances, this primary election will be different from elections past. Despite how we feel about it, I think it is important voters are aware of the changes. 

First, what is absentee voting?  

Absentee voting is traditionally reserved for people unable to visit their voting location on election day, such as the elderly, those out of town, our military personnel, and those scheduled to be outside of their county on the day of the election. Absentee voting in Kentucky can be submitted via mail or by going directly in person at your county clerk's office, but requires the voters request, verification, and authorization.  

Here are the changes in place for the June 23 election:  

1. All voters registered in Kentucky will be notified of their voting options, and anyone can request an application from their local County Clerk. The absentee voting “medical emergency” exception has been extended to all voters due to COVID-19.  

  

2. Any registered voter can cast an in-person vote beginning June 8 and will run through June 23. Locations will meet the safety recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

  

I encourage you to contact your county clerk's office if you have any questions about your county's polling location, or if you wish to cast an absentee vote. 

3. To be clear, in-person voting is supposed to be available in every county on election day. Each county's voting will look differently based on the demand and need for in-person voting. 

As always, you can count on your local newspapers and radio stations to keep you informed and updated on the latest developments surrounding the June 23rd primary election and on all other matters. I continue to be grateful for their efforts and for their willingness to allow me to share important information with you. 

Do not hesitate to contact me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or email me at albert.robinson@lrc.ky.gov.  

It is a blessing to serve you in Frankfort. Be sure to exercise the right to vote that so many brave service men and women have sacrificed to protect. Stay safe. God bless.  

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