Clerk urges voters to use absentee ballot for June’s primary; Filing deadline is June 2

Published 8:54 am Friday, May 8, 2020

Kentucky’s primary election has been moved to June 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and voters are being encouraged to change the process of how they normally vote.

“In this specific primary election, if at all possible, please, please vote by mail,” urged Boyle County Clerk Trille Bottom.

Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order issued on April 24 stated, “All Kentuckians should utilize absentee voting by mail for the June 23, 2020 primary election if they are able to do so.”

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Beshear’s executive order eliminates the requirement to list a reason why an absentee ballot is being requested, Bottom said. Every registered voter can vote with an absentee ballot.

However, live voting on June 23 will also be available, she added, but there will be changes. Voting will not take place in all precincts. Maybe only three machines at two locations in the county, Bottom said. The locations and number of machines will be determined by the county election board next week.

Voting in person on Election Day “Is highly discouraged, but acceptable,” she said. “There won’t be long lines if everybody will vote by mail. We’re stressing, vote by mail.”

Limiting polling places, “Will help protect our population on Election Day,” Bottom said. “Normally there would be lines and lots of people in the same area.” She’s also concerned for the health of the precinct workers because “most of them are in the high risk age group.”

“We can’t say if there will or won’t be (someone voting in person who is carrying the COVID-19 virus) but it only takes one person to spread this.”

“The clerks are just following the guidelines. We’re not the ones making all of these changes. We’re just the ones that have to follow them and make sure that we’re providing a safe environment, not only for the poll workers, but for the voters themselves, and anyone else involved in the election process.”

Voters can request an application for an absentee ballot now by calling Bottom’s office at (859) 238-1110 or (859) 238-1113.

The application will be sent to the caller, who will then fill out their name, date of birth and address and either mail it back to the county clerk’s office or drop it off at the courthouse or other locations to be announced, Bottom said.

The clerk’s office will mail the ballot back to the person, who can fill out their choices and return it in the enclosed, postage paid envelope.

By the first of June, the State Board of Elections will have an online portal established where registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot. The clerk’s office will electronically receive the application, verify it and send the ballot to the voter.

“The most encouraged way for most voters is to vote by mail, by calling the clerk’s office requesting the ballot or wait until the portal is available. That’s the number one way to vote,” Bottoms said.

Absentee voting “in house” at the courthouse will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, June 8 – 22, by appointment only. “This is not encouraged, but is acceptable,” Bottom said.

The State Board of Elections will be sending a postcard to every registered voter explaining the process, Bottom added.

Even with all of the changes and many “unknowns” of what could go wrong on Election Day if most people don’t mail in their ballots and long lines form at the polls, Bottom said, “We’re going to prepare for everything that goes on under a normal election. … I have no problem with the voting process. It’s the unknown that bothers me. We don’t know the unknown,” Bottom said laughing.

“We are here to conduct the new election process with all the security, integrity and transparency that has existed with each and every prior election,” Bottom said.

She also wants to remind voters that the ballot was printed in March, as dictated by law, for what was to be the May primary. So, the Democratic candidates who have recently dropped out of the race for president will still be on the ballot.

And, don’t forget that Kentucky has a closed primary election. “You have to vote the party that you’re registered as of Dec. 31, 2019. Therefore the absentee ballots sent from her office will be “party specific.”

Filing deadline is June 2

The deadline for local candidates to file their paperwork to run in November’s general election is 4 p.m. Tuesday June 2, said Boyle County Clerk Trille Bottom.

Local seats up for election are city councils for Junction City and Perryville, Boyle County Board of Education for Districts 1, 4 and 5, and two seats on the Danville Independent School Board, plus one seat to fulfill the remaining term of Paul Smiley who recently resigned from the board.

Candidates are to pick up their packet of paperwork to fill out prior to the filing date, Bottom said. They’re also required to register with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, “Which takes a little longer to do,” is required when the candidate turns in their filing paperwork, she added.

“Do not wait until June 2 because you may not have time. Don’t wait until the last day to file for office,” Bottom said.