• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Election tips from the county clerk

JUST MINUTES AFTER Woodford County's absentee ballot machine was certified, the county Board of Elections showed off the old and new: From left, County Clerk Sandy Jones with an iPad like those that will be used to steer voters to the right precincts on Election Day; while Republican Party chair Ken Morales, Woodford Sheriff Wayne Wright and Democratic Party chair Henry Duncan hold an ancient ballot box that will be used to store absentee ballots. (Photo by John McGary)

Tuesday, Nov. 8, will be the third Election Day for Woodford County Clerk Sandy Jones and, with the presidential race at the top of the ballot, the busiest. Precincts Nineteen precincts will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with precinct election officers arriving at 5 a.m.), and people in line at 6 p.m. will get to vote, too. At 6 p.m., a precinct election officer will step behind the last person in line, and folks who show up afterwards will not be allowed to vote. Each precinct will feature at least two election officers from each party from precincts other than their own. Eight precincts will have five officers, with each party splitting the majorities. Each precinct will have two iPads loaned from the Woodford School District that election officers will use to steer voters who've shown up at the wrong polling place to the correct site. Where to vote You can find out your precinct on the county clerk's site (www.woodfordcountyclerk.com), which has a link to a site prepared by the Bluegrass Area Development District (http://maps.bgadd.org/woodford/woodfordvoters). Jones said election officers will approach those waiting in line to ask their address and cut down on the number of people who wait 45 minutes, then learn they must go elsewhere. Whether you're eligible To determine whether you're registered and to which, if any, political party you belong to, you can go to www.govoteky.com. "All they have to do is put in their driver's license number or their Social Security number. That's a fabulous tool," Jones said. Ballots With more than a dozen ballots involving three constable districts, three school board districts and Midway and Versailles City Council at-large races, Jones said it wasn't feasible to put samples of each on her website. "If I put all these on there, they'd be so confused," Jones said. All of the sample ballots can be reviewed at the county clerk's office in the Woodford County Courthouse during regular business hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Also, a comprehensive ballot can be seen on page 6 in this week's issue of The Sun. It will be published again next week. As for registration, if you didn't register by Oct. 11 (four weeks before Election Day), you'll have to sit this one out. State law allows people to register to vote again on Nov. 14 - the first Monday after the election. Absentees Absentee ballots can be requested at the county clerk's office or by mail until Nov. 1 - and there've already been plenty of them, 520 as of Tuesday, Jones said. People eligible to cast absentee votes include college students, members of the military and others who can sign an application indicating why they can't vote at their assigned precinct. (That's how precinct officers will vote, Jones said.) Eligible absentee voters can vote on a machine in the clerk's office or mail their ballots in. Absentee vote totals will not be posted until all precinct totals are delivered to the clerk's office, Jones said. Headquarters Back at the courthouse, the four members of the county Board of Elections will be together all day long: Jones, the chair; Republican Party Chair Ken Morales, Democratic Party Chair Henry Duncan, and Sheriff Wayne Wright. "We are required to be together. We have to make decisions throughout the day on different election questions that are posed to us," Jones said. All day long, they'll be getting calls from precinct election officers dealing with concerned voters, some of whom won't understand why not changing their voter registration after moving is preventing them from voting. Party-minded individuals can reach Democrat Duncan at jhduncan2@aol.com and Republican Morales at moralesks1@yahoo.com. Advice Expect plenty of company at the polls. "Woodford County (turnout) is always high. We're usually second or third-highest in the state," Jones said. "Come early - don't wait until five minutes before six," Jones said. "Bring your patience to the polls. We're there to serve you, and I just don't want anybody to be angry and upset with the precinct election officers. I'm hoping that it will be a smooth day, and we're doing everything we can to get people moved in and moved out quickly and efficiently," Jones said. Results Patience may also be a virtue after the last votes are cast. Jones said typically, Woodford County vote totals are sent electronically to the Kentucky Secretary of State's office by 8:30 p.m. This year, it could be as late as 10:30 p.m. before they're tallied and sent.

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