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Roughly 6,300 ballots already received by county clerk as election day nears

With the June 23 primary election inching closer, Boyle County Clerk Trille Bottom and other election officials are working hard to make an unusual election day operate as smoothly as possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made this year’s primary election a lot different than prior elections. This year, election officials encouraged mail-in voting to avoid large crowds gathered at polling stations. Bottom said many Boyle County voters have already returned their ballots.

“We’ve had approximately 6,300 ballots that have already been submitted,” Bottom said. “That’s a lot.”

For those who have received their ballot but haven’t mailed it in yet, Bottom encouraged utilizing the ballot drop box locations at the courthouse. One is located inside the courthouse by the elevator, and the other is located outside by the employee entrance. Both are available during normal business hours.

Bottom noted that the outdoor drop box is locked when employees leave for the day as a security measure.

She added that her office will be receiving ballots that are postmarked as late as June 23, but with such a short window remaining, Bottom said the safest method to make sure the ballot will be counted is to leave it in one of the drop box locations.

There will be two polling locations open on Tuesday for those who wish to vote in-person. Polling locations will be set up at Boyle County Fire Department Station 1 at 1500 Lebanon Road and at First Christian Church at 555 E. Lexington Avenue. Anyone who wishes to vote in-person on Tuesday can vote in either location regardless of their traditional polling location. Polls will be open on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Election Day will look significantly different, Bottom said. Each polling place will have social distance markers so that those waiting to vote will be six feet apart. There will also be hand sanitizer stations and voters are encouraged to wear masks when they come into their polling location.

Wearing a mask isn’t a requirement, Bottom said, but election officials are recommending that voters wear a mask when they visit their polling location.

Bottom also emphasized that voters will need to bring a photo identification with them when they come to vote on Tuesday.

There will be election workers that will be providing instructions at the door when voters come in to make sure social distancing guidelines are being followed and to keep lines moving as efficiently as possible. These workers will be providing instructions and informing people when it is their turn to go to the table to pick up their ballot.

Absentee voting at the courthouse is also still available for those who would prefer to vote early and avoid lines on Tuesday.

Absentee voting can be done in-person at the county clerk’s office during normal business hours at 321 West Main Street, Room 123 until Monday at 5 p.m. Appointments are required for this, so individuals wishing to vote early should call the office at 859- 238-1110 to schedule an appointment. The office will be open for absentee voting on Saturday, June 20, as well. Those hours of availability are 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Bottom said that with the in-office absentee voting, voters need to make sure they bring a photo identification with them and are encouraged to wear a mask.

Overall, Bottom said she is expecting a high total turnout for the primary election. She projected that it is possible another 4,000 people vote aside from the ballots already turned in.

According to the Kentucky Board of Elections Voter Registration Report dated June 4, there are 22,780 registered voters in Boyle County. By those numbers, the projected voter turnout would be roughly 45.2 percent.

For comparison, four years ago, the primary election produced a turnout of 22.4 percent in Boyle County.

Bottom encouraged voters who opt to come out to vote in-person on election day to please be patient as election officials do their best to adjust to unusual circumstances.

“I would tell people to expect long lines, just because we don’t really know how many people will come out,” Bottom said. “We have no idea how many people will go vote on election day. Things will be moving at a little bit of a slower pace due to social distancing, so I just want people to be prepared to stand in line.”