In a visit Tuesday to check out early in-person voting at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams brought some good news.
Forty-two percent of Warren County’s registered voters had already cast their votes by the end of the day Monday, either by absentee ballot or by voting at SKyPAC.
“Warren County is killing it,” said Adams, a Republican who was elected to the state office last year. “I’m not losing any sleep over Warren County.”
Adams, who was saddled with coming up with a pandemic-compliant election plan shortly after taking office, said about 33 percent of registered voters statewide had cast votes by Monday.
A big reason is the response to absentee voting. Adams said 499,768 voters had returned their absentee ballots, which is 76 percent of those requested.
“That’s good news,” he said. “It means the ballots aren’t being delayed by the post office.”
Early in-person voting that started Oct. 13 has been well-received as well, according to Adams. He said 632,862 voters, roughly 19 percent of the state’s registered voters, had cast their ballots in person already.
“Bottom line, if we’re expecting a 70 percent voter turnout, it should be very manageable on Election Day,” said Adams, a Paducah native.
He said voting processes put in place to accommodate the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic have been welcomed around the state.
“I’ve had county judge-executives of both parties and voters tell me they love early voting and would like to keep it,” Adams said.
Adams and Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, worked together to come up with a plan for voting during the pandemic for both the primary election held in June and the Nov. 3 general election.
The expansion of absentee voting and early in-person voting are the cornerstones of the election process they put together for the general election, and Adams would like to see both continue.
“I’m going to ask for legislation that makes the online portal (for requesting an absentee ballot) permanent,” Adams said.
He would also like to see a continuation of the “cure” process put in place for the general election that requires county clerks to reach out to voters to “cure all absentee ballot irregularities”.
Ballot irregularities include mismatched signatures as well as missing envelopes, problems that resulted in many ballots not being counted during the primary.
“We can watch for irregularities and correct them,” Adams said. “This process makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat, and that’s what I was elected to do.”
Adams said Kentucky’s voting rules will allow for most vote totals to be known on election night. The absentee ballots are already being processed, he said, but won’t be totaled until election night.
“In Kentucky, we’ll have 90 percent of the results known on election night,” Adams said.
Although the changes in voting were put in place by emergency order because of the pandemic, Adams said they could lead to a permanent change in how Kentucky elections are conducted.
“This year, about one-third of people will vote by absentee ballot,” he said. “Usually, only about 2 percent vote absentee. I think in the future we’ll never go back to 2 percent absentee voting.”
In Warren County, early in-person voting at SKyPAC will continue through next Monday, with voting held each weekday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday.
On Nov. 3, Warren County voters can go to one of six locations to cast their ballots: SKyPAC, Warren Central High School gymnasium, Living Hope Baptist Church gymnasium, Phil Moore Park, Ephram White Park and Buchanon Park.
Those polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.
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