By Drew Bergman
In a time when every aspect of our lives has been divided along the lines of essential and non-essential, free and open elections remain among the most essential aspects to a free and healthy republic. The question of how to have those elections, a quagmire elsewhere, has been answered in a bipartisan resolution from Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear and Republican secretary of state, Michael Adams.
Normal elections require close contact between poll workers and other citizens throughout any given election day. Many if not most of Kentucky’s poll workers are senior citizens, the group most threatened by a virus. These realities informed the initial decision to reschedule the 2020 primary from May 19 to June 23.
That rescheduling also means that citizens that are not registered can still register to vote in the primaries by next 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 by either going to GoVoteKY.com or calling 270-384-2801. The Adair County Clerk’s Office will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.
Voters cannot change their party affiliation for the June primary, that deadline passed at the end of last year, however party affiliations can be changed any time after the June 23 primary.
The other upcoming deadline is the following Tuesday, June 2. That deadline is for filing for any candidates intending to appear in the November general election. The posts that are up for election this cycle include: soil conservation and school board positions, as well as the Columbia City Council. Filing packets can be arranged to be picked up at Clerk Lisa Greer’s office during normal business hours and prospective candidates should call 270-384-2801 to make the arrangements.
On or about Friday, May 22 voters will receive a postcard in the mail detailing the process for voting by mail. With only a small fraction of polling places opened, voters are encouraged to vote by mail in the Kentucky primary. The secure online portal allowing Adair County residents to register online will also be available then and can be reached through GoVoteKY.com.
The law governing absentee balloting will allow Kentuckians to request an absentee ballot without having to meet one of the standard qualifications. The request must be completed by June 15.
Following the request, an absentee ballot will be mailed to the voter who will fill out the ballot as they would otherwise and secure it in a pre-paid envelope which will be provided thanks to the State Board of Elections. Chaired by former U.S. Congressman Ben Chandler, the board approved up to $1.2 million to pay for the return postage with the state matching federal funds from the CARES Act.
Voters must sign the outer envelope for their vote to be counted and must mail the ballot back by June 23. The ballot can also be dropped off in a secure ballot box located at the Adair County Clerk’s Office, which is expected to be in place by Monday, June 1.
There will be one polling location for in-person voting, the Adair County Annex Basement at 424 Public Square, and voters can vote there by appointment during normal business hours from June 8 through June 22, or from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the date of the primary election on June 23.
Voters intending to vote in person will have to follow CDC guidelines and wear a facial covering to help protect themselves, other voters, and the election officers who will also be wearing facial coverings. They will also have to confirm their identity. Identity can be confirmed using either a driver’s license, or other state or federally issued ID including a social security card, also credit cards may be used as well as any ID card with both picture and signature or by personal acquaintance with an election officer.