• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Most voting by mail in June 23 primary

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an agreement between the Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to hold what will amount to a mail-in primary – a month later than usual. Woodford County Clerk Sandy Jones said most who vote in the June 23 Republican and Democratic primaries will do so by mail. Every registered voter will receive a postcard from the state Board of Elections telling them about the changes and how to request a ballot, and Jones said it’s very important that voters make sure the election board has their right address on file. “If we do not have their correct address, this postcard’s not going to be delivered to them,” Jones told the Sun. The last day to register for the primary is Tuesday, May 26. Jones said the postcards will explain that all registered voters must request a paper ballot be mailed to their address, and the ballot must be postmarked by no later than June 23 – or dropped off in a secure ballot drop box in the county courthouse next to the Sheriff’s Office. That box will be under video surveillance, she said. The postcard will explain that they can request a ballot at www.govoteky.com. Jones said that website offers a secure portal and will be available by Friday, May 22. “This will require each voter to personally identify themselves, so at that time, they’re going to be asked for their social (security number), their date of birth, all the ballot information that would qualify them to get in to order their ballot,” Jones said. Exceptions Exceptions to the mail-in rule include the disabled, the homeless, people who don’t have a home address and those who didn’t receive a post card. Those people will be allowed to vote on the machine on the first floor of the courthouse – but must make an appointment with Jones’s office first. Walk-ins won’t be accepted, she said. “They will be given personal protective equipment (PPE) when they come in, we will be covered with all of our PPE as well, and it will be highly controlled, so we will know exactly who comes into the courthouse and what time they came into the courthouse, just in case that we needed to track something. If there happened to be an outbreak of COVID here, we would know exactly who we had come in, and maybe detect it and work with the health department here,” Jones said. “We need to help them do their part in our community to stay safe as we vote in this mail-in ballot primary,” she added. Reliable results? Jones said she knows some are skeptical of voting by mail, but has complete confidence in the way the June 23 primary will be carried out. “We have been doing absentee voting for years and it is just as safe and secure as any method we’ve always used. It’s always been made available for people who are going to be out of the county that day, for students who are maybe attending college in another state, for our military that’s out of the state or the country,” she said. “It is so highly secure that I cannot imagine any fraud being a possibility. It’s a matter of marking your ballot that comes to your door and … if you don’t like the mail service, you can bring it in yourself,” Jones said. A busy clerk’s office Jones acknowledged this primary will involve a lot of extra work by her employees. “ … Just because of the mass mailing aspect of it. It will be a lot of mailing out, so it’s a lot of work in the beginning and a lot of work in the receipt part of it,” she said. Totals will be announced a little different this time around, too. Preliminary figures will be released election evening – and for each of the next four nights, as ballots postmarked by June 23 will be accepted until June 27. “Unprecedented,” Jones said of the way this primary will be conducted, and of the cause for the changes.

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